Astronaut's Widow Says Risk Is Worth The Rewards
benefits for all involved -- whether they go on the trip or stay at
home. Yet there are risks inherent in all forms of exploration that
accompany these benefits. You could argue no one knows this better
than June Scobee Rodgers, founding Chairman of the Challenger
Center for Space Education... and widow of STS-51L commander Dick
Scobee, who along with six other spacefarers perished in the
January 28, 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.
Rodgers related her experiences at a symposium held last
weekend at Louisiana State University titled "Risk and Exploration:
Earth as a Classroom." The Challenger Center for Space Science
Education was one of the organizational sponsors of this event.
The event was targeted toward space, oceanic and terrestrial
explorers, as well as others who encounter risk in their daily
lives, including entrepreneurs, firefighters, and police. The event
provided a forum for the discussion of various risk-taking
philosophies, with the hope that such groups will gain a greater
appreciation for the similarities and differences of their
Along with the families of the crew of Challenger, Rodgers has
sought to bring the dreams that motivated Dick Scobee and his crew
to a new generation of students. In the past 20 years hundreds of
thousands of students have had a chance to see what it is like to
work on space missions and improve their math and science skills
through simulated missions at Challenger Centers across the US,
Canada, Europe and Asia.
Two decades of hard work came full circle this past summer when
Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan flew on a Space Shuttle mission
to the International Space Station and completed the teaching
mission begun by Christa McAuliffe 21 years ago.
"Risk and Exploration" was held on the LSU campus with the
generous financial sponsorship of the Northrop Grumman Corporation.
A check for $100,000 was presented to LSU Chancellor Sean O'Keefe
by Northrop Grumman at the opening session of this conference.
Among the featured speakers were Apollo 8 Astronaut William
Anders, former NASA Administrator and LSU Chancellor Sean O'Keefe,
noted mountaineer and author Kenneth Kammler, legendary explorer
Jim Fowler, X Prize founder Peter Diamandis, and CNN anchor Miles
The event was also supported by financial contributions by
Aerojet Corporation and by four organizations devoted to learning
and exploration: The Explorers Club, the Association of Space
Explorers, the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, and
the Space Generation Advisory Council.