Teachers in Space! Foundation Wants Hundreds to Fly

by Greg Quetin on April 11, 2006

Los Angeles, CA, April 11, 2006 – Educators attending the National Conference on Science Education signed a declaration last week, saying they want the chance to fly into space. Meanwhile, the Space Frontier Foundation has announced a project which, if successful, could put hundreds of teachers into space in just a few years.

The Foundation is seeking business-funded “scholarships” for TIS flights, in a multi-year long campaign that begins today, and announced a new website devoted to its Teachers in Space project at www.teachersinspace.org.

“There is a revolution going on right now in space transportation,” explained the Foundation’s Rick Tumlinson. “Companies like XCOR Aerospace, Rocketplane Ltd., Scaled Composites, Armadillo Aerospace, Blue Origin, Canadian Arrow, Masten Space, and Space Exploration Technologies are leading the way, by building commercial sub-orbital spaceshipsthat can carry passengers.”

What does this mean for teachers? “So many companies are working this challenge,” Tumlinson continued, “that in less than five years, tickets to fly to the edge of space should be available in the $100,000 to $200,000 range. By soliciting businesses to pay for a number of tickets for teachers, we are ensuring that flights for teachers become a priority.”

“We’ve lost that ‘holy cow, we’ve been to the Moon,’attitude,” remarked Kevin Runkle, a teacher at John Muir Middle School in San Jose, CA. “Our kids don’t know they’ve lost it, but the teachers do. This project can bring it back. As good as it will be for our students, what better way to tell teachers how important they are.”

In 1984, when President Ronald Reagan created a Teachers in Space program to fly them on the Space Shuttle, more than 11,000 immediately applied. Sadly, momentum faded after the Shuttle’s Challenger tragedy. Unlike the Reagan-era program, the Space Frontier Foundation’s new Teachers in Space program will not fly on NASA Shuttles. Instead, a new generation of spacecraft, which will have flown paying customers for years, will transport America’s teachers to space.”

These newspace-faring passengers will bring their knowledge and experience to the classroom, teaching and inspiring the next generation of America’s youth.

“My daughter is an alternative school teacher. She would love to go to space and share this experience with her kids,” said Rachel Milstead, a science teacher from Heritage Middle School in Columbus, Mississippi.

“We are hearing loud and clear from teachers themselves that there is a critical national need to attract and keep the best possible teachers in the classroom,” said Bill Boland of the Space Frontier Foundation. “There is also a critical national need to stimulate commercial spaceflight. We are excited about this chance to bring America’s education and space needs together. Stay tuned, this is going to be a great ride!”

For more information on the Space Frontier Foundation’s Teachers In Space program, please visit: www.teachersinspace.org, or e-mail us at: us@teachersinspace.org.

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