The story of astronaut Christa McAuliffe’s life is about to be told in The Challenger, which will star Michelle Williams. McAuliffe was a New Hampshire high school teacher who was selected to join NASA’s Teacher in Space Project and later became a part of the Space Shuttle Challenger crew. The crew launched the Challenger mission from Cape Canaveral on January 28, 1986, which exploded 73 seconds after takeoff, killing all seven crew members on live television and shocking the world.
Martin Zandvliet is directing The Challenger from a script by Jayson Rothwell. Production on the biopic is set to begin in May 2019, if everything goes according to plan. The story puts the focus on Christa McAuliffe (Michelle Williams) and how she was chosen to be a part of the Challenger crew and be the first teacher in space. Christa McAuliffe posthumously received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and several high schools in North America have been named after her to pay tribute to her life.
The Challenger is being produced by John and Art Linson along with Argent Pictures’ Ben Renzo. Argent partners Jill Ahrens, Ryan Ahrens, Drew Brees, Tony Parker, Michael Finley and Derrick Brooks are executive producing. Renzo spoke on behalf of the producers on the project to talk about their excitement to tell the story of Christa McAuliffe’s life. He had this to say.
“We are more than humbled and extremely grateful for the opportunity to help tell the story of Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger mission. Christa McAuliffe’s legacy deserves the strength, courage, experience and humanity that Michelle Williams brings to the role. The entire Argent team is honored and eager to responsibly capture and share the events and personal journeys of those surrounding this important historical moment with audiences around the world to help remember and further appreciate the sacrifices Christa and rest of the Challenger crew made to further our journey into space.”
The Challenger spacecraft began to disintegrate over the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida right after launch. It’s believed that the disintegration of the spacecraft began after a joint in its right solid rocket booster failed at liftoff. The solid rocket booster failure was blamed on the failure of O-ring seals that were used in the joint and not designed to handle the unusually cold conditions that took place during the launch. The launch had been delayed several times for various reasons, with weather being one of them.
During the breakup of the spacecraft, the crew cabin came detached and launched into a free fall. It’s been reported that the cabin hit the water at a speed of 207 MPH, which killed all seven members of the crew upon impact. The Challenger is going to be a tearjerker as Michelle Williams brings Christa McAuliffe’s tragic story to life on the big screen. Williams can be seen this weekend in Sony’s Venom and recently co-starred in I Feel Pretty and The Greatest Showman. No release date for The Challenger has been announced at this time. This news was first reported by Deadline.