Past Events

Golden Anniversary Lecture: Challenger Center

2015 Challenger Crew
2015 Challenger Center Logo


The Historical Society of Rockland
County Invites You to Join Us for

"A Look Back at the Early U.S. Space Program"

A Golden Anniversary Event
Presented by the HSRC
and the Town of Ramapo's
Challenger Learning Center

When: Thursday, July 23, 2015, 7 pm SHARP
Where: Challenger Learning Center, 225 Route 59, Airmont, NY 10901
Price: Admission is $FREE, but space is limited and reservations are required.

On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon as millions of people around the world watched on TV. Join us as we hark back to the beginning of the U.S. Space Program with a visit to the Town of Ramapo's Challenger Learning Center. John Huibregtse, director, will talk about the early days of the Space Program, as well as about the efforts of our local community to bring a Challenger Center to Rockland County.

About the Challenger Learning Center: The Challenger Learning Center in Airmont is living testimony to the dream of the Challenger astronauts. When the crew of the Challenger Space Shuttle perished on January 28, 1986, they were on a pioneering mission to extend the boundaries of human knowledge, to teach and to inspire.

On January 28, 1986, the seven crew members of the Space Shuttle Challenger/STS-51-L ?Teacher in Space? mission set out to broaden educational horizons and advance scientific knowledge. Their mission exemplified humans' noblest and most wondrous qualities?to explore, discover and teach. To the nation?s shock and sorrow, the shuttle exploded seventy-three seconds after liftoff. In the aftermath of the accident, the crew?s families came together, firmly committed to the belief that they must carry on the spirit of their loved ones by continuing the Challenger crew?s educational mission.

In April 1986, they created the Challenger Center for Space Science Education (Challenger Center). They envisioned a place where children, teachers and citizens can touch the future by manipulating equipment, conducting experiments, solving problems, and immersing themselves in space-like surroundings. The goal: to spark young people's interest in science and engineering and change their lives.

In June 1994, a Suffern High School project led by student Kristina Rodriquez proposed turning a vacant school building into a Challenger Learning Center. The concept lit a fire in the community and resulted in approval to create what was then one of thirty Challenger Learning Centers in North America and only the second center in New York State. Today, more than forty centers have been created in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea.

As a courtesy to the event hosts, please arrive early to avoid interruptions. The event will begin promptly at 7 pm. Latecomers who have reservations may forfeit their seats. Walk-ins will be admitted only if space permits.

To reserve your free tickets online, click on the Brown Paper Tickets logo:

You can also reserve tickets by sending an email to or calling (845) 634-9629.

Please note: Seating at this off-site program is limited. No one without a reservation will be permitted to participate. A waiting list will be compiled, and available spaces will be filled on a first come, first served basis. If you register and find that you cannot attend, please be considerate and let us know as soon as possible so we can release your seat to someone on the waiting list.


Photograph: Official portrait of the Challenger STS-51-L astronauts. Back row (left to right):?Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, and Judy Resnik. Front row (left to right): Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ron McNair. NASA Human Space Flight Gallery.


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