Kennedy Space Center, FL, August 21, 2007 – As the Space Shuttle Endeavour touched down with Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan on board, Teachers in Space project leaders called for NASA to announce flight dates for the three remaining Educator Astronauts.
“NASA has taken the first step toward keeping the commitment it made to education more than 20 years ago, but it’s only the first step,” said Teachers in Space project manager Edward Wright. “We call on NASA Administrator Mike Griffin to immediately announce flight dates for the next three Educator Astronauts – Joe Acaba, Ricky Arnold and Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger.”
Teachers in Space was a NASA project in the 1980’s, but NASA discontinued the effort after the Challenger accident that claimed the life of teacher Christa McAuliffe in 1986. Teachers in Space has been revived as a private nonprofit project by the Space Frontier Foundation and the United States Rocket Academy. Instead of flying teachers aboard the Shuttle, the new Teachers in Space program will use suborbital passenger vehicles now under development by commercial companies.
“The Educator Astronaut program is taking teachers out of the classroom to join the NASA astronaut corps,” Wright said. “Our goal is to put astronaut teachers into American classrooms.”
Space Frontier Foundation chairman Bob Werb believes NASA still has a role to play as well. “We call on NASA to fly the three remaining Educator Astronauts as soon as possible and to give them more time to teach lessons from space. After flying, they should return to the classroom, alongside the astronaut teachers we will be creating.”
Teachers in Space is preparing to begin the process of selecting the first of many teachers who will fly in space on suborbital vehicles. The start of the selection process will be officially announced at the Wirefly X Prize Cup, a public spaceflight show at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico on October 26-28.
About the Wirefly X Prize Cup and Holloman Air and Space Show
The Wirefly X Prize Cup is an annual two-day air and space exposition. This year the Cup will be held in conjunction with Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, NM to create the first ever Air & Space Expo with “live” fire / fly demonstrations and competitions. This event is free and open to the public and will be held on October 27th and 28th from 10am to 5pm. Launch and air show demonstrations will feature Rocket Racing League’s X-Racer, Air Force single-ship demos including F-22, F-16 and F-117, as well as the return of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge – a two-level, $2 million competition requiring a vehicle to simulate trips between the moon’s surface and lunar orbit. Nine teams are registered for this year’s competition, with NASA funding the prizes through its Centennial Challenges program. Additionally, visitors can tour a massive ground display featuring space and rocket exhibits and Air Force aircraft. For more information, please visit www.xprizecup.com or call (310) 576-3473.