By Staff

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Thursday marks the 35th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Concord, New Hampshire high school teacher Christa McAuliffe and six crewmates were killed when the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after takeoff on Jan. 28, 1986.

McAuliffe, a Framingham native, would have been NASA’s first designated teacher in space. She was chosen from more than 11,000 applicants for the flight.

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(Back, L-R) Mission Specialist Ellison S. Onizuka, Teacher-in-Space participant Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist Greg Jarvis and mission specialist Judy Resnick. (Front, L-R) Pilot Mike Smith, commander Dick Scobee and mission specialist Ron McNair. (Photo credit: NASA/Getty Images)

Concord later built and named a planetarium and discovery center for McAuliffe, who was 37 years old when she died. There is also an elementary school named for her.

When McAuliffe was a finalist for the NASA program she told WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano, then a radio reporter, about the enthusiasm for teaching she hoped to generate with lessons from space.

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“I think I’ve always been a risk taker. I like to do things that are adventuresome. I’m really hoping it generates excitement in the education process to give teachers a more positive role.”

Christa McAuliffe. (Photo by NASA/Getty Images)

NASA will honor the crew of the Challenger, as well as those who died on Apollo 1 and the space shuttle Columbia, during the agency’s annual Day of Remembrance on Thursday.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) Staff