Press Release

Challenger Center Unveils First Newly Designed Challenger Learning Center

By SpaceRef Editor
October 30, 2014
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STEM education organization continues to inspire and educate students around the globe

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Challenger Center for Space Science Education (Challenger Center), the international science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education organization, unveiled a newly designed Challenger Learning Center at San Antonio College. The state-of-the-art Center has quickly become Challenger Center’s flagship facility. It is the first completely new design since the organization was founded nearly 30 years ago and represents the future look and feel of Challenger Center’s simulated STEM education experience.

“Today’s students have different expectations than students did years ago,” said Dr. Lance Bush, president and CEO, Challenger Center. “We know our model works, and the concept of Mission Control and the Space Station will always be our foundation. But it was time to take that classic Challenger Learning Center to a new level.” 

The new Center features a futuristic look and a more functional design while incorporating the best parts of the organization’s original Challenger Learning Center. A revamped open floor model gives students more room to work together in the Space Station. Each student has the chance to interact with at least one hands-on lab during the mission. Large monitors above each work station display emergency alerts and videos throughout the sequence, providing additional engagement and interactivity. Mission Control now resembles what current Mission Control rooms look like with collaborative work stations, large high-definition screens to enhance the visual experience, and computer monitors that drop down into the tables to allow for more flexibility.

The Center is part of the Scobee Education Center, a state-of-the-art 22,000 square foot facility combining the school’s planetarium with the new Challenger Learning Center. The completed Scobee Education Center is named in honor of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Dick Scobee and his widow June Scobee Rodgers who attended the college together. June Scobee Rodgers along with the other Challenger crew families founded Challenger Center after the shuttle tragedy.

“We are so very grateful for the opportunity to open our first next generation Challenger Learning Center, a design that represents the future of Challenger Center, in San Antonio” said Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, founding chair, Challenger Center. “It is especially meaningful for it to be part of the Scobee Education Center, extending the relationship between my family, the Challenger astronauts, and San Antonio College.”

Building on students’ natural enthusiasm for space, Challenger Center uses simulated space missions to strengthen knowledge and excitement about STEM subjects. The newest educational missions, Earth Odyssey and Lunar Quest, were developed with the help of NASA and NOAA so that students would be given the opportunity to analyze real-life data. In addition to applying the knowledge they have learned in the classroom, the missions allow students to practice important skills like problem-solving, communication and teamwork. Today, Challenger Center has more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers around the globe, in 26 states and three other countries.

About Challenger Center for Space Science Education (Challenger Center)

As a leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, Challenger Center and its international network of Challenger Learning Centers use space simulations to engage students in dynamic, hands-on opportunities. These experiences strengthen knowledge in STEM subjects and inspire students to pursue careers in these important fields. Centers reach hundreds of thousands of students each year. Founded in 1986, Challenger Center was created to honor the crew of shuttle flight STS-51-L: Dick Scobee, Gregory Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, and Michael J. Smith. Learn more about Challenger Center at and connect with us on and


Lisa Vernal, Challenger Center


SpaceRef staff editor.