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Students honor Challenger astronauts with rocket launches

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FERGUSON, MO (KPLR) – 'Today also is NASA's day of remembrance,' says Tasmyn Front.

It's Tasmyn Front's task to make sure that future generations know their space history. And on this the 29th anniversary of the space shuttle challenger explosion she had a creative way of doing so.

'So they had a chance to think about those crew members while they actually built rockets,' says Tasmyn Front, director Challenger Learning Center.  'Each of the seven rockets represented seven crew members onboard the Challenger crew.'

Takuan Covington first visited the Challenger Learning Center in Ferguson when he was in third grade.

Today as a high school freshman he launched his own rocket in honor of astronaut Ronald McNair.

'It's just a red white and blue to represent the flag,' says Takuan Covington.  'When we came out here I was ready for my rocket to get taken off.'

Just after 11 am on the McCluer South-Berkeley high school campus in Ferguson, seven Estes Viking rockets were launched.

The Ferguson-Florissant school district, St. Louis Science Center and Education Plus established the challenger learning center in St. Louis in 2003.

'This was actually modeled after NASA's Johnson Space Center,' says Front.  'They wanted it to look and feel like you were on a mission.'

It's here that students learn science, biology, ecology space explorations future and past.

And it's on this day that a new generation continued a mission off seven astronauts from 1986.

'I feel like we should remember it,' says Teighlor Carroll.  'It's something that should be passed down the memory and the importance of it.'