Astral Challenger Roundabout
In February, the City of Lancaster completed the Avenue L and Challenger Way roundabout. This traffic-calming intersection design was implemented to reduce speeds and collisions, while increasing traffic flow efficiency. The roundabout is not only part of the City’s larger vision to improve the safety and efficiency of all Lancaster roads, it also serves as the inaugural site for one of the City’s first public art pieces – the Astral Challenger.
Designed by artist Shana Mabari, the Astral Challenger is a monumental landmark created in honor and commemoration of the 1986 Challenger space shuttle flight, which resulted in the tragic loss of seven lives.
The Astral Challenger stands as a salute to the groundbreaking achievements native to the Mojave Desert, from Chuck Yeager’s breaking of the sound barrier to the many successful space shuttle landings performed in this desert. The monument also serves as a nod to aerospace giants, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, which have offered countless contributions to the forging of the Antelope Valley’s incredible legacy.
During the daytime, the Astral Challenger showcase’s its extraordinary construction of ascendant vertical mass, offering a notable point of reference reflected by its strength, engineering and innovation design. At night, the structure is enhanced by a radiant display of illuminated blue acrylic panels, which encompass both the top and bottom of the massive edifice.
The Astral Challenger is fabricated with 2-inch square stainless steel rods that compose its 20-foot-high mass of open framework. The vivid cobalt blue acrylic panels which surround the top point and bottom base create a silhouette of the Challenger spacecraft. Encased in the 19-foot diameter concrete pad where Astral Challenger resides is LED lighting, which illuminates the lower and upper blue acrylic panels from dusk until dawn.
Artist Mabari worked on the initial design concepts and fabrication specifics with legendary Southern California fabricator Jack Brogan. All structural and electrical materials utilized are durable and safe for long-term external use in a public setting.