the space shuttle endeavour (hey, note the spelling. they did it the english way!)took off today for the international space station, and a teacher is finally in space. hurrah!
barbara morgan was the back-up for the late christa mcauliffe on the doomed challenger expedition.
"More than half of NASA's 114 Teacher-in-Space nominees in 1985 gathered at the launch site, along with hundreds of other educators.
Also on hand was the widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee. She said earlier in the day that she would be praying and pacing at liftoff and would not relax until Morgan was safely back on Earth in two weeks.
The Challenger crew "would be so happy with Barbara Morgan," June Scobee Rodgers said. "It's important that the lessons will be taught because there's a nation of people waiting, still, who remember where they were when we lost the Challenger and they remember a teacher was aboard."
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin met Tuesday night with several members of the Challenger astronaut families who were in town for the launch — although not with the McAuliffe family.
After liftoff, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings sent congratulations from Washington and called Morgan "an inspiring example for our next generation of teachers, scientists, engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs."
Midway through the flight, Morgan will speak with students in Idaho, where she taught elementary classes before moving to Houston in 1998 to train as a full-fledged astronaut, the first teacher to do so. If the mission is extended from 11 days to 14 days as planned, she will have a chance to answer questions from students in two other states."
one of my dreams as a child, and maybe even still a little bit, was to go to the moon. however, my ears hurt when the l.i.r.r. train goes into the tunnel just before penn station so i don't think i'd ever make it into a rocket. on the other hand, i may not become an astronaut, but i am a teacher :-)
the full story is here.