Press Release

Challenger Crew, Astronauts, and Cosmonauts Remembered Atop Mt. Everest

By SpaceRef Editor
June 19, 2008
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Challenger Crew, Astronauts, and Cosmonauts Remembered Atop Mt. Everest
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Astronaut, Mountain Climber, Dr. Scott Parazynski Sends Memorial Flags to Mt. Everest

Alexandria, VA – Dr. Scott Parazynski, a 16 year veteran of the NASA astronaut corps and avid mountain climber traveled to Mount Everest earlier this spring in hopes of ascending a mountain he had aspired to his whole life. While on the summit he had planned to tie off two special memorial flags in honor of fallen astronauts and cosmonauts. The flags were patterned after Tibetan prayer flags that dot the high summits and mountain passes of the Himalayas. In a recent letter to the families of Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia, Soyuz 1 and Soyuz 11 crews, Dr. Parazynski wrote, “I couldn’t think of a better way to honor my heroes, your beloved family members, than on the apogee of the world’s highest mountain.”

Given that he was pursuing a very personal goal, Dr. Parazynski made this trip at his own expense, on his own time. Reflecting on the motivation for this trip he said “My boyhood was filled with all sorts of adventures, both as a result of traveling all over the world with my Dad’s job, and through the many books of exploration that I devoured. One such book was “The Ascent of Everest”. While Dr. Parazynski was unable to reach the summit, he asked a friend and climbing partner, Adam Janikowski to do the honor for him, and now these two memorial flags fly on top of the world commemorating the fallen astronauts and cosmonauts. There were actually two sets of flags made, with the second set held in reserve, just in case Dr. Parazynski gets a chance to return to Mt. Everest.

Dr. Parazynski gave an interview recently to Challenger Center for Space Science Education’s Founding Chairman, Dr. June Scobee Rodgers about his life and career. This audio podcast is part of a series of Challenger Center interviews with NASA astronauts and other acclaimed scientists and explorers aimed at to introducing important role models to children through their life stories. This audio interview is available on the Challenger Center website: www.challenger.org.

To see Dr. Parazynski’s blogs about his climbing Mt. Everest, and the memorial flags, please visit: http://onorbit.com/node/272

Dr. June Scobee Rodgers is the widow of Challenger 51-L Commander, Dick Scobee and led the effort to form Challenger Center for Space Science Education, an international education organization founded by the families of the astronauts lost during the last flight of the Challenger Space Shuttle in 1986. Through Challenger Center’s programs and its international network of Challenger Learning Centers, the diversity, spirit, and commitment to education that exemplified the Challenger 51-L mission continues to make an impact on students, teachers, and families today. A network of 50 Challenger Learning Centers across the nation, and around the world, carry on the Challenger STS-51-L mission by providing educational workshops and space simulations to over 25,000 teachers and 400,000 students annually. To learn more visit: www.challenger.org

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For program information, please contact:

Shannon Rush, Development and Communications Associate Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Alexandria, VA 703-683-9740; srush@challenger.org

SpaceRef staff editor.