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Published: Monday, 10/20/2003

Shuttle center lifts off

BY ELIZABETH SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER
`You are really carrying on for her. You are completing the mission,' says Grace Corrigan, mother of Christa McAuliffe, during the opening of the Challenger Learning Center. `You are really carrying on for her. You are completing the mission,' says Grace Corrigan, mother of Christa McAuliffe, during the opening of the Challenger Learning Center.
LUCAS MOBLEY / THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Christa McAuliffe's mother asked students to continue her daughter's mission of learning in and about space.

“You are really carrying on for her,” Grace Corrigan said. “You are completing the mission.”

Mrs. Corrigan spoke yesterday at the opening of the Challenger Learning Center of Lucas County and signed copies of her book, A Journal for Christa.

Christa McAuliffe would have been the first teacher in space, aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

After it exploded in January, 1986, killing all seven crew members, the astronauts' families got together to create a “living memorial” to the astronauts, Mrs. Corrigan said.

“They wanted something good to come out of something so bad,” she said.

Mrs. Corrigan said her daughter had been excited about teaching lessons from space to the largest classroom imaginable.

Boy Scout Troop 112, from St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Oregon, was there to meet Mrs. Corrigan and tour the center.

“The kids are interested in space, and it's a good opportunity to learn more about space flight,” scoutmaster David Stephenson said.

Andrew Logan, 17, said he got a new perspective on the Challenger disaster and how Ms. McAuliffe had felt about her education mission.

He's been a big fan of the space program for years, though he's now more interested in the arts, he said.

“I'm still a huge fan,” he said.

The center began a week of grand-opening events. From 4 to 6 p.m., youth groups learned about traveling to the moon, a mission the center will begin offering next month.

Located at the Shuer Center on Seaman Road in Oregon, the learning center will allow area students in grades five through eight to simulate a mission to establish a lunar base. They will send a craft to orbit the moon and analyze data to select the best site for the base.

The mission takes about 21/2 hours, and the students spend class time before and after the mission learning the science involved.

“It's going to do wonders for your schoolchildren,” Mrs. Corrigan said.

During the simulated mission, the students will put their spacecraft in orbit, navigate to the moon, and determine the best location for a lunar base.

“I told my scoutmaster we have to come back,” David Reynolds, 15, said. He has always wanted to be an astronaut, he said.

The center is holding teacher workshops today and tomorrow. Its official ribbon cutting is 6 p.m. Saturday. June Scobee Rodgers, wife of Dick Scobee, who died on the Challenger, will be in attendance.

A public open house is Sunday at 1 p.m. with speakers from NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

The center in Oregon is the second in Ohio. The first opened in Dayton in 1990, and another is scheduled to open in Cincinnati in 2005.



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