Quiet Challenger anniversary in NH

Posted: 01/28/13 at 6:00 pm EST

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Monday marks the 27th anniversary of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, which killed all seven crew members, including New Hampshire schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe.

The shuttle exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral on Jan. 28, 1986.

McAuliffe was a social studies teacher at Concord High School. She was picked from among 11,000 candidates to be the first teacher and private citizen in space.

Today, a new elementary school in Concord bears her name, in addition to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center and the high school's auditorium. A painting of her in her astronaut uniform is in the lobby.

The Concord school district itself and the city have observed the Challenger anniversary quietly through the years, partly to respect the privacy of the McAuliffe family.

No formal events were scheduled Monday. For the 25th anniversary in 2011, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center held a tribute to teachers followed by a program about McAuliffe.

During the dedication of the elementary school last August, McAuliffe's husband, federal judge Steven McAuliffe, said she would have been so pleased to share in the moment

"She would be thrilled to know that thousands of children, including our grandchildren, will experience the excitement of learning in such a technologically advanced, and truly functionally exquisite school and one that also carries her name," he said.

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