A very special archive from dear family friends of Christa McAuliffe.Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51-L): Christa McAuliffe Signed Launch Invitation and Color NASA Photo along with an Extensive Grouping of Material Related to her Life and Death. We all know the story of this small town high school social studies teacher from New Hampshire- how she was chosen from more than 11,000 applicants to be the first teacher in space. We can remember how excited she and her friends, family, and students were that she had received this honor and would be teaching (what she loved best) from earth orbit to a worldwide audience. We followed her training and watched her on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show and the news programs; we were all pulling for this wonderful lady as we could all remember a favorite teacher who had been a major influence in our lives. I would suppose that most of us can, nearly twenty-five years later, remember exactly where we were and what we were doing the minute we heard the news that the Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded just seventy-three seconds after liftoff. The immediate response was anger and disbelief: this was the twenty-fifth flight of the program; there was a civilian aboard. How can this have happened? Can you imagine how her parents, Edward and Grace Corrigan, and their guests at the launch, Arthur and Nancy Marasco, must have felt? This lot consists of a group of historical items from the Marascos' collection, highlights follow.
Christa McAuliffe Signed Invitation to the Launch: A letter signed "Christa" to the Marascos, dated October 1, 1985, 8.5" x 11", on NASA letterhead. An explanation of how the limited number of nontransferable launch invitations would be distributed along with details of when and where the launch was to happen. Very fine condition with original mailing folds. NASA envelope of transmittal included. This is the first of these we've seen.
Christa McAuliffe Signed NASA Color Photo: An 8" x 10" lithographed print of McAuliffe in her flight suit holding a model of the shuttle, nicely signed "S. Christa McAuliffe" with great contrast. Caption on the verso. Pristine.
Barbara Morgan Signed NASA Color Photo: Morgan was the backup for this mission and would have flown as the "Teacher in Space" if anything had prevented McAuliffe from participating. Ms. Morgan finally did fly on Space Shuttle Endeavour mission STS-118 in August 2007 as a Mission Specialist. She has signed the photo of her and Christa together: "For Art & Nancy-Any relative of Christa's is top in my eyes! Best wishes to you. Love, Barbara". Fine condition with a couple of edge crinkles.
Ed and Grace Corrigan Signed Note: An 8.5" x 3.5" memorial card from Christa's parents is signed: "Dear Nancy & Art, Thank you for being there for us. What would we do without you!! Love, Ed & Grace". With original envelope. Fine condition.
NASA STS-51-L Launch Guest Items and More: A selection of souvenirs from the Marascos' trip to the Kennedy Space Center to view the launch including two "Launch Guest" badges, bus boarding passes, reception invite, guest information brochure, and mission prelaunch profiles. Also, a blue baseball-style cap and unworn matching blue T-shirt, size M, both with "NASA Teacher in Space" patches. A copy of a newspaper article tells the Marascos' story about being present at the take off. They were to establish a "Christa McAuliffe Space and Science Memorial Fund" in the local Lenox Library children's room. Along with some memorial service programs, much of the balance of this archive concerns this fund. A unique and touching group of material regarding this brave and never-to-be-forgotten educator.
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