P.S. 149Q The Christa McAuliffe School

Sharon Christa McAuliffe (1948-1986) was born in Boston and earned a degree in history from Framingham University in 1970. Later that year, McAuliffe married her high school sweetheart and moved to Maryland, where she began her teaching career. McAuliffe taught American history, civics and economics, and earned an MA in education administration at Bowie State University before her family moved to Concord, N.H., in 1978. There, she continued to teach junior high and high school social studies.

In 1984, she became one of more than 11,000 educators who applied to be part of NASA’s new “Teacher in Space Project.” On July 1, 1985, after a rigorous application process, it was announced that McAuliffe had been selected. During the next six months, McAuliffe trained for the space mission and prepared school lessons that would be aired from space. On January 28, 1986, McAuliffe joined six other astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Shortly after launching, the Challenger_ _malfunctioned, and everyone on board was killed in the explosion. In 2004, McAuliffe and the 13 astronauts who died during the Challenger and Columbia tragedies were posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.