Wasn't the Challenger named in honor of the Space Shuttle Challenger, after it exploded on the launchpad in 1986? I feel like I remember reading this somewhere, but I can't be sure. I know that the Columbia NX-02 was named in honor of the Columbia space shuttle explosion, and I thought I remembered reading in the same article (not on here) that the Challenger was also honored in Star Trek. If somebody can confirm this and provide a source, I believe it should be added to the background information. --Kahwless 14:49, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Starfleet ship classes usually share their name with the class prototype ship. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual) Assuming that only one ship of a given name is in service at any time, the USS Challenger prototype for the Challenger-class was retired some time prior to 2377, when the Galaxy-class USS Challenger (NCC-71099) was seen in VOY: "Endgame".