January 28, 2011 marked 25 years since the loss of the Challenger crew. I was fortunate to spend the day with Dr. June Scobee-Rogers, who along with other Challenger crew family members took this incredible loss and created one of the world’s most inspirational learning organizations, the Challenger Center for Space Science Education (www.challenger.org). Beginning with 0530 AM interviews in Florida through a mid-day visit to Houston’s Challenger Learning Center (the world’s first), and finally ending in Albuqueque, NM (the most recent learning center), June was inspirational and energetic all day long! Many thanks also go out to Gwen Griffin and her team at Griffin Communications, Miles Obrien and David Waters (for their Spaceflight Now webcast in Houston) and Marion Epps (of Epps Aviation in Atlanta, for graciously providing air transportation to June, Gwen, Dan Barstow and myself).
We have much to look forward to at the Challenger Center, including aspirations to grow substantially to reach underserved communities around the nation: http://www.spacenews.com/profiles/110131-scott-parazynski.html
I’m just beginning a very exciting new job here in Houston, so I’ve taken a few weeks in between to devote some time to writing about some of the fun and unusual life experiences I’ve had thus far. I did some focused writing while sequestered away in Arizona, which also gave me the opportunity to test fly a helicopter I’ve always wanted to build, a Rotorway A600 Talon. I only have a few hours of helo time, but it seems the ultimate way to travel – low, slow and scenic, with the ability to touch down most anywhere. Hopefully in the next couple of years I’ll get a chance to build my own, as the demo flight was fantastic.
In closing, I think it’s also important to remember not to take yourself too seriously…