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May fly sometime:
Teacher-Astronaut Barbara Morgan

NASA photo of Barbara Morgan, Teacher and Astronaut
Teacher and Astronaut Barbara Morgan [NASA]
Idaho elementary school teacher Barbara Morgan would have flown to the International Space Station in 2004, but shuttle flights were grounded after the loss of Columbia in 2003.

Back in 1986, she and New Hampshire school teacher Christa McAuliffe were part of NASA's Teacher in Space program. McAuliffe was on her way to space on January 28, 1986, aboard the shuttle Challenger when it exploded killing her and six NASA crewmates.

red push pin dingbat McAuliffe was the first to fly in the Teacher in Space program. Morgan had trained as McAuliffe's backup for the ill-fated 1986 flight. The Teacher in Space program was suspended after the Challenger disaster.

red push pin dingbat Morgan is a native of Fresno, California, born November 28, 1951. She is a classical flutist who also enjoys jazz, literature, hiking, swimming, and cross-country skiing.

red push pin dingbat Morgan was graduated with honors at Stanford University in 1974, and began teaching at Arlee Elementary School on Montana's Flathead Indian Reservation, where she taught remedial reading and math. From 1975-1978, she taught remedial reading and math and second grade at McCall-Donnelly Elementary School in McCall, Idaho. From 1978-1979, Morgan taught English and science to third graders at Colegio Americano de Quito in Quito, Ecuador. From l979-l998, Morgan taught second, third, and fourth grades at McCall-Donnelly Elementary School.

red push pin dingbat Morgan was selected by NASA on July 19, 1985, as backup for the Teacher in Space Program. From September 1985 to January 1986, she trained with Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger crew at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.

NASA photo of Barbara Morgan and Christa McAuliffe
Morgan and McAuliffe in 1986 [NASA]
red push pin dingbat After Challenger, Morgan returned in 1986 to teaching second and third grades at McCall-Donnelly Elementary School in Idaho. She also continued to help NASA's Education Division as what NASA called the Teacher in Space Designee. She spoke to students in schools across the United States, designed curriculum, and served on the National Science Foundation's Federal Task Force for Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.

red push pin dingbat She is a member of the National Science Teachers Association, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, International Reading Association, International Technology Education Association, and the Idaho Education Association.

red push pin dingbat NASA reactivated the Teacher in Space program in 1998 and began training Morgan in August 1998 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to fly as an astronaut. Her new title is Educator Mission Specialist. She currently works as a full-time astronaut based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

red push pin dingbat Her training includes orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in space shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, and ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training, as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques.

red push pin dingbat She is slated to head to space on a shuttle flight to the International Space Station. Morgan, who will be in her 50s or older at the time of her flight, is married and the mother of two sons.

More Teachers Coming. The NASA Administrator in 2002, Sean O'Keefe, said the space agency planned to actively recruit teachers to fly in space with a goal of having an educator in each new astronaut class.

NASA would work with the U.S. Education Department to search out teachers who could meet the rigorous fitness and proficiency standards for active participation in U.S. space missions.

In 2002, there were about 160 active trained astronauts and astronaut-candidates. Members of classes as far back as 1996 still were awaiting flight assignments. Barbara Morgan was one of 31 persons in the astronaut class of 1998. Any additional teachers recruited would be in later astronaut classes.

Journalists in Space. At the same time in the 1980s as its Teacher in Space program, NASA developed a Journalist in Space program. However, development of the journalist program stopped after the Challenger explosion.

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