8 The Challenger Had Many Firsts
The Challenger added some epic milestones to space history. It hosted the first spacewalk on April 7, 1983. It was also the second shuttle to enter space in April 1983, Columbia being the first.
It sent the first American female astronaut, Sally Ride, to space in June 1983, with the STS-7 mission. August 30, 1983, saw the first Black astronaut, Guion Bluford, in space.
The Challenger made the first night launch and landing on the STS-8 mission. And it also sent the first Canadian, Marc Garneau, to space on mission STS-41G. That 1984 STS-41G flight was also the first time the world saw two women on one mission
And on mission STS-51B, the Challenger performed the first functional Spacelab flight.
7 Christa McAuliffe Was A Teacher Too
Asides from being a civilian, Christa McAuliffe, one of the Challenger payload specialists, was also a school instructor. She was a social studies teacher from New Hampshire who would have been the first teacher in space.
Christa was selected from 11,500 applicants in 1984 and intended to reignite America’s passion for space exploration with her Teacher in Space experiments and documentary. She was only 37 years old at the time of her death.