• Marker to honor North Carolina astronaut killed in Challenger explosion

    Updated:

    BEAUFORT, N.C. - North Carolina will honor an astronaut killed in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger with a historic highway marker.

    State officials say the dedication ceremony for the marker honoring Mike Smith will be held Friday near the Michael J. Smith Airport in Beaufort.

    [A look back at the Challenger shuttle disaster]

    Smith was born in Beaufort and graduated from Carteret County High School.

    He was the pilot of the Challenger space shuttle, which exploded moments after it lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in January 1986. All seven astronauts were killed.

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