Maine’s newest NASA astronaut, Jessica Meir, will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the final space shuttle Challenger mission at events scheduled for Jan. 27-28, hosted at the Challenger Learning Center of Maine.

Selected in 2013 as part of the 21st astronaut class, Meir recently completed her astronaut candidate training and is now qualified for mission assignment. Meir is serving currently as a spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) supporting the Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, and crews onboard the International Space Station. Born and raised in Caribou, Maine, she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Brown University, a master’s in space studies from International Space University, and a doctorate in marine biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

“I remember exactly where I was on that day 30 years ago, excitedly watching the launch countdown along with my third-grade classmates in Caribou, Maine,” Meir said. “The tragic loss of the crew is something we will always remember and carry in our hearts. I know these astronauts would have been proud of the global network of centers created in their memory, dedicated to inspiring students through unique educational experiences.”

The Challenger Learning Center, located in Bangor, Maine, will host middle school students from across the state for a special presentation by Meir at the Collins Center for the Arts, Jan. 27. The student-only event will be followed by an after-school open house at the Challenger center, in collaboration with the Maine Science Festival. Members of the public are welcome to meet Meir and tour the center. Meir also will be the keynote speaker at a special reception for invited guests at the Challenger Center later that evening.

The morning of Jan. 28, local members of the media are invited to register for live interviews with Meir at the Challenger Center. Interested media may schedule an interview by contacting Susan Jonason, the center’s executive director, by email at

“The families of the Challenger crew created the Challenger Centers to continue their education mission through space-themed learning and role-playing strategies to help bring students’ classroom studies to life and cultivate skills needed for future success”, Jonason said. “We feel very fortunate to have one of these wonderful centers right here in Bangor.”

For event details and more on the Challenger Learning Center of Maine, visit:

For more information on Meir, visit:

Follow her on Twitter: @Astro_Jessica

To learn more about NASA’s education resources, visit: