Press Release

Challenger Center for Space Science Education Mourns the Death of Walter Cronkite

By SpaceRef Editor
July 20, 2009
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Challenger Center for Space Science Education Mourns the Death of Walter Cronkite

Veteran Journalist was Friend to Challenger Center

The following is a statement from Challenger Center Founding Chairman June Scobee Rodgers, PhD, on the death of veteran journalist Walter Cronkite.

“It is with great sadness that the Challenger Center family learned of Walter Cronkite’s passing. Walter Cronkite was a wonderful friend to the families of the Challenger crew and to Challenger Center.

Wonderful memories abound of a man dedicated to “communicating” the news and teaching us about the space program. Most importantly, he personally shared our enthusiasm to create Challenger Center’s educational mission, and served on our board of advisors.

After the Challenger accident, Mr. Cronkite, himself a finalist for NASA’s journalist in space program, met with us in his office in New York and encouraged our efforts, asking that we be sure to include an opportunity for students to be “communicators.”

Today in each of our 46 Challenger Learning Centers worldwide, students serve on the communications team during one of our simulated space missions, and some of them also act as reporters, capturing the story of their mission for their school.

We admired Mr. Cronkite’s talent and treasured his friendship. He will be missed – but his legacy will live on within those he helped to inspire.”

Challenger Center for Space Science Education is a non-profit organization founded in 1986 by the families of the astronauts tragically lost in the Challenger 51-L mission. Using space exploration as a theme, Challenger Center takes students on simulated space missions, helping foster a long-term interest in science, math, and technology, and inspires them to pursue studies and careers in these areas. For more information, visit or call 703-683-9740.


Rob Cork
Director of Communications
Challenger Center for Space Science Education

SpaceRef staff editor.