Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AJRD), has led local efforts to fund and design the Sacramento Challenger Learning Center, and has generously supported the Center since its construction in 1997.

The Challenger Learning Center, a living legacy to the astronauts of the Space Shuttle Challenger, continues to inspire the future 30 years after the accident. The leading science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education organization, founded by the Challenger families, has educated over 4.4 million students at more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers around the globe.
“The Challenger Center is inspiring today’s students to see their full potential and follow a path that leads to a career in the STEM industry,” said Dr. Lance Bush, president and CEO, Challenger Center. “Never before has this mission been so critical. Just as the Challenger crew demonstrated a true commitment to being innovators, we work to inspire that desire and passion for innovation in our Challenger Center students.”

The crew members of the NASA Space Shuttle mission STS-51-L included: Teacher-in-Space Payload Specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe; Commander Francis R. “Dick” Scobee; Pilot Michael J. Smith; Mission Specialists Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka and Ronald E. McNair; and Payload Specialist Gregory B. Jarvis.

To commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the shuttle tragedy, this morning Aerojet Rocketdyne representatives ceremoniously presented a $100,000 check to Sacramento Challenger Learning Center Flight Director Bernta Bechler and Powerhouse Science Center Board President Michele Wong at the Powerhouse Science Center Discovery Campus. The check is an annual installment of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s $1.5 million commitment made several years ago toward the upcoming expansion and relocation of the Powerhouse Science Center and its new Challenger Center

“We are honored to be a long-time partner with the National Challenger Center and learning centers across the nation, especially on this meaningful anniversary,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “Working together, we are helping to inspire and educate the next generation of America’s aerospace leaders, those students who may actually be on future missions to the International Space Station, Mars and beyond.”

Student “astronauts” from Silva Valley Elementary in El Dorado Hills, California, and other dignitaries were in attendance. Silva Valley has been “flying missions” from the Sacramento Challenger mission control simulator since 1998. To date, 72 Silva Valley fifth grade classes have participated in the unique hands-on learning experience field trip over the last 18 years.
The Sacramento Challenger Learning Center is located on the Powerhouse Science Center Discovery Campus at 3615 Auburn Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 91521.

About Challenger Center

As a leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, Challenger Center and its international network of Challenger Learning Centers use space simulations to engage students in dynamic, hands-on opportunities. These experiences strengthen knowledge in STEM subjects and inspire students to pursue careers in these important fields. Centers reach hundreds of thousands of students and tens of thousands of teachers each year. Founded in 1986, Challenger Center was created to honor the crew of shuttle flight STS-51L. Learn more at

About the Powerhouse Science Center Discovery Campus

Established in 1951, the Discovery Museum Science & Space Center has been an exceptional science education and recreation resource for students, families, and all members of the greater Sacramento community. In our current location, the Discovery Campus serves more than 80,000 visitors, provides on-site programming to more than 50,000 school children, and delivers more than 300 “Science on Wheels” outreach programs each year. The Discovery Museum will soon significantly expand and transform to become the Powerhouse Science Center. This new campus will be eight times the current center’s size and serve as “a dynamic regional hub that engages and inspires people of all ages to explore the wonders, possibilities, and responsibilities of science.”

About Aerojet Rocketdyne

Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at and