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The remains of Challenger astronaut Christa McAuliffe were returned...

By RICHARD MARCH

CONCORD, N.H. -- The remains of Challenger astronaut Christa McAuliffe were returned solemnly and without fanfare Wednesday to the small New Hampshire city where she taught school, officials said.

A spokesman at nearby Pease Air Force Base said a NASA plane transported McAuliffe's remains from a military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where a ceremony was held Tuesday for the seven astronauts killed in the Jan. 28 space shuttle explosion.

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'Her remains were flown in this morning,' said Lt. Steve Solmonson, a public affairs officer at Pease. 'They're on the way back to her home.'

He said McAuliffe's remains were driven from the air base to Concord in an escorted hearse.

Michael Callahan, a spokesman for McAuliffe's family in Concord, said no statement would be released regarding funeral plans. McAuliffe's husband, Steven, has not made any public comments since his wife's death except for a brief message Jan. 30 thanking the American public for condolences.

McAuliffe, 37, taught social studies at Concord High School before being selected last summer from more than 11,000 applicants to become the first ordinary citizen to orbit the earth.

McAuliffe's mother and father live in Framingham, Mass., where McAuliffe attended school. Her husband and two children, Scott, 9, and Caroline, 6, live in Concord.

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A spokeswoman at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Concord, where memorial services were held for McAuliffe Feb. 3, said no funeral ceremony has yet been planned.

Shuttle Commander Francis 'Dick' Scobee will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery May 19 and co-pilot Michael Smith on May 3.

Astronaut Ronald McNair will be buried May 17 in his hometown of Lake City, S.C. Plans for the other shuttle fliers have not been announced, but it is expected that astronaut Ellison Onizuka will be returned to his home state of Hawaii and civilian engineer Gregory Jarvis to Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Marvin Resnik, the father of the seventh Challenger astronaut, Judith Resnik, said he was told that any remains that pathologists were unable to identify probably would be cremated and buried at Arlington with a marker listing the names of all seven astronauts.

Challenger broke apart when a ruptured solid-fuel booster rocket triggered the explosion of the ship's external fuel tank. The remains were recovered from the crew cabin, found in 100 feet of water about 16 miles off Cape Canaveral.

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