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NASA Ceremony Marks 25th Challenger Anniversary

June Scobee Rodgers, left, widow of Dick Scobee, and William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations, place a wreath at the Space Mirror Memorial today. i i

hide captionJune Scobee Rodgers, left, widow of Dick Scobee, and William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations, place a wreath at the Space Mirror Memorial today.

John Raoux/AP
June Scobee Rodgers, left, widow of Dick Scobee, and William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations, place a wreath at the Space Mirror Memorial today.

June Scobee Rodgers, left, widow of Dick Scobee, and William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations, place a wreath at the Space Mirror Memorial today.

John Raoux/AP

The 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster was marked by a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida attended by hundreds. Among those speaking at the event was the widow of the shuttle's commander, as the AP reports:

"June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger's commander, Dick Scobee, urged the crowd to 'boldly look to the future' not only in space travel, but in space and science education. She was instrumental in establishing the Challenger Center for Space Science Education."

Florida Today has posted an extensive photo gallery from today's ceremony.

Seven crew members died, including teacher Christa McAuliffe, when the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after its launch from the Kennedy Space Center on January 28, 1986.

Christa McAuliffe's backup that day was Barbara Morgan. She spoke with Michele Norris on All Things Considered today about one of the most shocking moments in recent American memory.

Morgan, who eventually made it into space on a shuttle in 2007, tells Norris that when she looks back on that day she focuses on the smiles and enthusiasm radiating from the Challenger crew as they headed to the launch pad.

When asked how she thinks we should honor their loss, Morgan says:

"I would hope that we honor them by keeping the future open ... and by making sure that we have a robust space program that keeps moving us all forward."

The Challenger crew on the day it exploded were: Commander Dick Scobee; co-pilot Michael Smith; Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian-American in space; Judith Resnik; Ronald McNair, the second African-American in space; Christa McAuliffe; and Gregory Jarvis.

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