December 23, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

There’s plenty of signs that this area is deeply connected to space travel. You can’t miss the rockets and jet planes in front of the entry to NASA on NASA Road 1 in Clear Lake. But if you do, you’ll see a larger-than-life astronaut hovering above the MacDonald’s next door. Look closely, he’s the one holding a container of french fries! Inside, around the indoor play area, a colorful mural depicts historic scenes of the shuttle with spacewalks next to fanciful spaceships piloted by MacDonald’s characters. In one section of the mural, however, there’s no cuteness. Seven faces peer out from the wall, the seven astronauts who died in the Challenger tragedy.


Image is from the Roadside Americawebsite [Dana, 07/07/2014]

I’ve posted about the formalChallenger 7 memorial and the Challenger Park. There’s also an official memorial arbor within the Johnson Space Center complex. It is interesting to note that McDonald’s saw fit to add this mural looks over the seating area next to the playscape.

Interior mural w memorial.jpg

While parents watch and wait for their playing children, they are being watched by these departed souls. It’s not an expected location for a memorial (the Challenger mission was officially numbered 51 L). But in a neighborhood where people’s focus in on the space program, it makes sense to have a reminder in a place where families spend time.

challenger memorial mural.jpg

 Challenger memorial note.jpg

The Space Center McDonald’s, 1421 NASA Road 1, Houston, Texas