New Constellation (art prints of 1986 shuttle disaster)

Some of my readers know that I taught art on and off. 

For a while, I collected diverse art.   I sometimes imagined having a permanent eccentric art display — that could be used to teach small groups about art.  Art styles, media use, EOA, POD, artist bios, social movements, art movements, etc.  However, that idea waned and I donated 80% of my stuff (and never looked back, trust me). 

From that collection, here are two prints from January 29, 1986.

 The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986 and the next day, Orlando Sentinel cartoonists Ralph Dunagin and Dana Summers made drawings of the Space Shuttle crying and of a new Constellation.

 I guess these prints were “over” printed, which meant there were likely too many floating around. That was probably for the better. Maybe not for the collector, but for the people – because these wonderful drawings were received with so much love. Brought a lot of solace to people in Florida – and eventually to all in the US. I was not in Florida at this time – these prints were given to me during the 1990s, and these prints are an example of the “power of art” – so let’s see what you think – here they are: 

This is my copy of the Dunagin/Summers Crying Shuttle with an MC Escher feel (thinking of the blogger formerly know as the Doobsters with this as well). From the Orlando Sentinel: March 8, 1986 Although they secretly admit to loving the attention over their two cartoons of the shuttle tragedy, Orlando Sentinel cartoonists Ralph Dunagin and Dana Summers believe almost 200,000 reprints and 3,000 autographed copies may be too much.The two cartoonists — whose drawings of a crying shuttle with seven doves and a new constellation of the shuttle touched thousands — spent hours Friday at Cape Canaveral autographing about 1,500 of 20,000 reprints given out by NASA to its employees.The Sentinel reprinted 75,000 copies of the cartoons for the public, another 100,000 for Central Florida schoolchildren and allowed NASA to reprint 20,000.” Dunagin and Summers host a comic strip called the Middletons (here)




I also wanted to share this from the Sentinels’ archives:

“New Constellation

February 2, 1986

WHAT FOLLOWS was written Tuesday night. Now that I’ve seen cartoonist Ralph Dunagin’s powerful visual image of the space shuttle Challenger as a ”new constellation,” I realize the poem may be redundant.

Still, I feel I must send it in an effort to come to terms with this loss of seven people who have moved us forward by their equal sharing of risk and danger, and the excellence of their achievements here on Earth:

Tonight there should be a new con tellation,

Seven stars in the lucid dark.

At dawn the trees wept ice;

Shrouds wrapped our tender shoots and flowers.

Before noon we watched the rocket lift, explode into the sky.

Five men, two women, brown skin and white, shattered into equality.

All afternoon the sets replay this dream

That ends — always — with the same freeze frame.

Tonight, if we were Greeks, there would be new heroes

And heroines — riding the heavens forever.

by Elizabeth Ann Auerbach Jan 1986


The entire paper for 1/29/86 is here:





have a nice day and thanks for dropping by – and let me know if you like the prints.

heart and smile






29 thoughts on “New Constellation (art prints of 1986 shuttle disaster)

  1. The artworks – all three – are awesome. What wonderful tributes to those who paid the ultimate price for exploration. A great post with great timing to correspond with World Space Week 4 – 10 October

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi – well that is coincidental to have it connect to space week – and of course you would have these dates down being the sweet Educator that you are!
      and hope you have a nice upcoming weekend Norah!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A beautiful and informative post. You are an artist too! I was awful at drawing and stuff – still am and quite the butt of jokes for my non-artist eye 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hah – well whatever you missed in drawing you make up for it with writing and with kindness – 🙂
      and side note – if you ever want to “work” on your drawing –
      a great book to get is Mona Brooks’ “Drawing for Older Children & Teens” (1991)
      because keep in mind that drawing is something we learn – while many folks are born with more talent – and sure, it comes easier for some folks to “see” and then duplicate – but we can learn to draw better

      anyhow, in many classes I used some of Mona Brooks’ sheets for special lessons. Like her upside down drawing trains the eye and hand in the most unique way. and she has great duplication exercises!

      the book description says this:

      Everyone can learn how to draw- and feel truly proud of the results – using Mona Brookes’ proven drawing methods. Now the author of America’s best-selling art instruction book for young children provides a complete course for older children, teens and adult beginners.

      In Part I, you’ll discover the many different styles you can choose to draw in and how to develop your own personal style.

      In Part II, you’ll discover a unique way of seeing that allows you to draw any shape you observe. You’ll learn the basics (from buying art supplies to planning your compositions) and all the good stuff- proportion, scale, perspective, contrast shading and special effects. Lastly, Mona provides essential information on drawing the human form, animals, still, landscapes, and buildings.

      It’s all here. Now nothing can prevent you from discovering the joys of drawing. Open this book and you’ll see what creative possibilities await you!”

      Liked by 1 person

        1. oh my pleasure – and I sued to have some of her resources on an old art blog – I deleted it last year, but I have been meaning to get another resource site going – and so when I do I will share a link with you.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I was a child living in Florida when the disaster happened with the Challenger. We could see the flame during takeoff from where we lived. I remember that everyone knew something had gone wrong while we were watching.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. well thanks for chiming in – and to witness the flame – were you on the other side of Florida?
      well by the way – I just read your Hurricane post and it inspired my last post (as I shared a tiny bit about my Florida living) – and thanks for the inspiration….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was living in Fl at the time and I still remember the day the space shuttle blew up. It was a sad day and whole area had gone down with it as the program had to stop until the cause was found.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow – you were so close to the action – that really must have added to the whole experience.
      and every time there have been delayed launches or even cancelations – we never minded because we know they were being extra careful. but so sad…..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it was something to live near by the cape. At night or during a clear day, you can see a lunch from the town. When shuttles landed elsewhere and they had to put the shuttle on the back of 747; you could see them flew low too. I had never seen one 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        1. well as you know from my other comment – I was there in 1992 – and on and off for visits – but have never seen the 747 assistance – that sure would be cool to see….
          but I did have a chance to meet some of the staff at Nasa – that area is a very small town kinda feel –

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  5. I had never seen these before…but they do soothe the soul somehow. I was living in Mexico and watched the disaster live on TV…what I remember most…and most saddest…was that they turned the cameras on Ride’s parents and kept them there, until someone said hey stop that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mexico at that time, huh – I am trying to figure out when you actually had time for the health food store – seems like you have been a traveling man all along.
      and your memory is very interesting – glad they stopped filming them
      I do not recall that – I was in English class and they turned on the news in each class – and we watched the replays on the small screen – I recall the teacher’s response the most – a math teacher came in and she was devastated – more than anybody else in our school.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. so you saw the rerun of the explosion? that’s what chilled me the most…the healthfood store was during the 70’s, and yeah…traveling since forever

        Liked by 1 person

        1. yes- they had the news on – but I actually think our class had the launch being shown and so some saw it live – I do not recall seeing it live (I was drawing Yvette Loves Ron all over pages in my notebook – trying really hard to get a cool cursive R to match the cool cursive Y – whew) – 🙂
          but I saw the news show the smoke trails


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