Challenger Learning Center New Mexico is “Go for Launch”

News Release

For immediate release

Contact: Rob Cork, Director of Communications, 703-535-1361
Challenger Center for Space Science Education
300 N. Lee Street, Suite 301, Alexandria, VA 22314

March 5, 2010 – Alexandria, VA – The Challenger Learning Center New Mexico, located on the Unser Discovery Campus in Los Ranchos, opens on Saturday, March 6, 2010 with a grand opening gala and welcomes its first school visit on Tuesday, March 9 from Albuquerque’s Ernie Pyle Middle School.

The Unser Children’s Discovery Campus was founded in 2002 by four-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser. The Unser Racing Museum, dedicated to the sport of racing and the history of the “first family of racing,” opened on the Campus in 2005. In 2007 Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School, a public-charter school, opened as the second facility on the Campus with an enrollment of 135 middle school students. Designed to be on par with a private school education, it has doubled its enrollment and will graduate its first class in 2011.

Unser was introduced to the Challenger Learning Center program while visiting the Indianapolis Challenger Learning Center in 2007. Three years later, a new building is now prepared to accept this third facility on the Campus.

When asked what attracted Unser to invest in bringing a Challenger Learning Center to the Unser Discovery Campus he stated, “Children may only be 20% of our population, but they are 100% of our future. When we started this project 8 years ago we wanted to give children the opportunity to look at all forms of career paths. With the addition of the Challenger Learning Center we feel we have come full circle.”

Challenger Learning Center New Mexico joins 47 other locations in the growing international network of Centers. It features a mockup of NASA’s mission control as well as an orbiting space station. Students will rendezvous with a comet and other destinations to follow.

"We congratulate the Challenger Learning Center New Mexico, and especially Al and Susan Unser, on their grand opening and look forward to working with them to bring hands-on space science programs to students and teachers in New Mexico," said Dan Barstow, President, Challenger Center for Space Science Education.

For more information about the Challenger Learning Center New Mexico and its programs, visit, call (505) 248-1776 or email

About Challenger Center

Using space exploration as a theme and simulations as a vehicle, Challenger Center and its international network of 48 Challenger Learning Centers create positive educational experiences that raise students’ expectations of success, fosters a long-term interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and inspires students to pursue studies and careers in these areas. Challenger Center’s network of Challenger Learning Centers across the United States and in Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea reach more than 400,000 students each year through simulated space missions and educational programs, and engage over 40,000 educators through missions, teacher workshops and other programs To learn more about Challenger Center for Space Science Education, visit

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