Challenger Center Turns 20

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV)- Few things in life could be as exciting as becoming an astronaut and leaving the bounds of earth for a trip into space.
Few have actually done it, but hundreds of youngsters have had the experience through the UTC Challenger Learning Center.
The Center has been a part of the campus for 20 years now.

Its as good as an amusement park ride.
Just walking into the Challenger Learning Center is an experience most will never forget.
It has the feel of a NASA Launch Center and it even has a control room where students can run simulated space missions.
It appears to be 100-percent fun, but the students are actually learning the basics of science, technology, engineering and math.

BILL FLOYD, FLIGHT DIR., CHALLENGER LEARNING CENTER "It’s really nice to see all these kids learning in an environment that’s not like their school building. You know, they’re coming in her putting themselves in a career of ….facility and scenery and finding out what all these things they’re learning back in school are important for."

The Challenger Centers began after the tragic Challenger mission in January 1986. The widow of mission commander, Francis "Dick" Scobee, was among the founders. The first was built in Houston. This one at UTC was launched in January 1995.

Dr. JUNE SCOBEE ROGERS, FOUNDER, THE CHALLEGER LEARNING CENTER "There are 47 centers, three more are being built at this time…and yes, they are international ..England, South Korea and Canada."

Dr. Rogers, who’s made her home here in Chattanooga, has watched the center at UTC host more than 160-thousand students and teachers with quality STEM programs, and 400-thousand around the world.

DR. JUNE SCOBEE ROGERS "On my national board we have a number of astronauts who have flown in space. And they come to our Challenger Centers and work on missions themselves..and break out in beads of perspiration wanting it to be a successful mission. Laughs."

Students can attend the week-long sessions at the Challenger Center as individuals…or as a class.
Flight Director Bill Floyd says the busiest time of the year is now through the end of the school year.

Categories: Education, Local News

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