Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Aug. 22, 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 X Prize Cup, a public spaceflight show at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico on October 26-28.
The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization of people dedicated to opening the Space Frontier to human settlement as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth´s fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for each generation by using the unlimited energy and material resources of space.
The United States Rocket Academy is a non-profit educational institution founded to provide spaceflight education to meet the needs of the commercial, military and scientific sectors.