The Astral Challenger monument at Lancaster’s new traffic roundabout at Avenue L and Challenger is quickly becoming an artistic landmark. Created in honor and commemoration of the ill-fated 1986 Challenger space shuttle flight which resulted in the deaths of the seven crew members, it also stands as a salute to the many aeronautical achievements of the Antelope Valley dating as far back as Gen. Chuck Yeager’s breaking of the sound barrier, to the many landings of the space shuttle at Edwards Air Force Base.
The monuments also serve as a nod to southland aerospace giants such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. During the daytime, the Astral Challenger showcases its extraordinary construction of ascendant vertical mass, offering a notable point of reference because of its innovative design characteristics. It is fabricated with two-inch square steel rods that compose its 20-food-high mass of open framework. The vivid cobalt blue acrylic panels surround the top and bottom and create a silhouette of the Challenger spacecraft. LED lighting is encased in the 19-foot-diameter pad and illuminates the lower and upper blue acrylic panels from dusk until dawn.
The work was designed by Shana Mabari who drew on the skills of legendary fabricator Jack Brogan who incorporated durable structural and electrical materials best suited for long-term use in a public setting.