Dates: September 2, 1948 - January 28, 1986
Occupation: teacher, astronaut
Known for: first teacher in space; aboard space shuttle Challenger when it exploded
Also Known as: Sharon Christa Corrigan McAuliffe
Christa McAuliffe was a civilian mission specialist aboard the Challenger Space Shuttle, and died with the rest of the seven member crew when Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch on January 28, 1986.
Christa McAuliffe graduated from Framington State College, Massachusetts, in 1970 with a degree in history. A dedicated junior high school teacher (she taught history, social studies and civics), Christa McAuliffe was also a volunteer with her church, a Girl Scout Leader and a hospital and YMCA fundraiser.
Christa McAuliffe was scheduled to teach two lessons from the space shuttle. She was part of the NASA Teacher in Space project, selected as its primary candidate in 1985. She won out over 11,500 applicants; NASA officials were reportedly especially impressed with her course on "The American Woman" which she had developed and taught. Barbara Morgan was the backup "Teacher in Space" who also trained with NASA in the astronaut training program.
When Challenger exploded 73 seconds after takeoff, millions of horrified schoolchildren and adults were watching from schools, homes and offices worldwide.
Her husband Steve and their two children, Scott and Caroline, survive her.
Christa McAuliffe's alma mater, Framingham State College, established an education center in her honor, the Christa McAuliffe Center.
Many schools and scholarships have been named in honor of Christa McAuliffe.
Some books on Christa McAuliffe:
- Ages 4-8
- Naden, Corinne J. Christa McAuliffe: Teacher in Space [ISBN: 1878841580]
- Ages 9-12
- Jeffrey, Laura S. Christa McAuliffe: A Space Biography [ISBN: 0894909762]
- Lieurance, Suzanne. The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster in American History. [ISBN: 0766014193]
- Burgess, Colin and Grace George Corrigan. Teacher in Space: Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger Legacy. 2000. [ISBN: 0803261829]
- Corrigan, Grace George. A Journal for Christa: Christa McAuliffe, Teacher in Space. 2000. [ISBN: 0803264119]
- Hohler, Robert T. I Touch the Future: The Story of Christa McAuliffe.
- Women Astronauts and Cosmonauts - general articles and the most famous "firsts" among women in space
- Sally Ride - first American woman in space and a member of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle which investigated the Challenger explosion
- More Individual Women Astronauts - many of NASA's astronauts are listed on this page
- Women Teachers and Educators
Christa McAuliffe on the Web
- Christa McAuliffe's memorial in Calvary Cemetery, Concord, New Hampshire
- Christa McAuliffe Center for Education and Teaching
- Challenger Center: space science education
About Christa McAuliffe
- Categories: astronaut, teacher in space
- Organizational Affiliations: NASA
- Places: Massachusetts, United States
- Period: 20th century
More women's history biographies, by name:
Text copyright 1999-2013 © Jone Johnson Lewis.