A Brother Remembers the Boy Who Grew Up to Be a Challenger Astronaut

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As a kid in the 1950s, Ronald McNair dreamed of going to space -- no matter what obstacles might stand in his way. His brother Carl recounts the story of how, as a nine year old, Ronald got into trouble trying to check out books from the library in his hometown of Lake City, South Carolina. The public library, Carl explains, "was not so public for black folks" in 1959. That didn't deter Ronald one bit, however. The anecdote comes to life in this short animation produced by the Rauch Brothers for StoryCorps, which collects and archives true stories across America. McNair went on to receive a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT and became an astronaut, going to space for the first time with the Challenger's STS-41-B mission. This short film commemorates the 27th anniversary of his tragic death in the Challenger STS-51-L disaster on January 28, 1986.

For more videos from StoryCorps, visit http://storycorps.org/.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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