Christa McAuliffe made history as the first American civilian selected to go to space. McAuliffe was chosen for the NASA Teacher in Space Project, beating out more than 11,000 applicants. She was a high school teacher in Concord, New Hampshire.
McAuliffe joined the crew of NASA’s Challenger space shuttle for the January 28, 1986 launch. The shuttle tragically exploded shortly after liftoff, killing everyone on board. After her death, McAuliffe received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. The lessons she had planned to deliver from space were delivered from the International Space Station in 2017 and 2018 in tribute to her. Her words “I touch the future, I teach” continue to motivate teachers around the world.