Carl McNair

On the morning of January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after lifting off. All seven crew members were killed.

McNair_challenger_crewRonald McNair was one of the astronauts aboard Challenger that day (Challenger crew is pictured at left; Carl is in the front row, far right). A graduate of MIT who grew up in the small farming community of Lake City, South Carolina, McNair was only the second African American to visit space.

His older brother, Carl (pictured above), talked about how Ronald’s journey from the rural South to outer space began with an act of courage at the local public library.

Click here to watch “Eyes on the Stars,” a StoryCorps animation of Carl’s remembrance.

 Originally aired January 28, 2011, on NPR’s Morning Edition.