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Congresswoman Maxine Waters Remembers the Significance of the Challenger Mission

January 28, 2011
Press Release

"One of the most significant endeavors in our nation's space program, the 1986 Challenger Mission was a result of NASA's effort to better connect the American public with its space program by sending the first civilian, a teacher from New Hampshire named Christa McAuliffe, into outer space.

Indeed, along with the rest of the crew, which included another female on board, Judy Resnik, the first Asian American in space, Ellison Onizuka, and Ron McNair, the second African American in space whose namesake is the basis for an exemplary scholarship program that helps disadvantaged and underrepresented youth study the sciences – the mission exemplified the strength, beauty, and diversity of our country.

"We all remember where we were that day, watching the launch on live television and infused with the excitement of their mission and what it meant for the future of our nation and our planet.

"Ellison Onizuka, Ron McNair, Greg Jarvis, Judy Resnik, Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, and Christa McAuliffe were brilliant minds taken from us too soon, and on this solemn 25th anniversary of the disaster we remember the way they rallied a nation with their dedication to and passion for science, exploration, and discovery. They were a brave, diverse, and pioneering team that continues to inspire the hopes and dreams of Americans and people around the world."