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Teacher in Space Project

Teacher in Space Project

Overview
The Teacher in Space Project (TISP) was a NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 program announced by Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 in 1984 designed to inspire students, honor teachers, and spur interest in mathematics, science, and space exploration.

The program was cancelled in 1990 following the death of its first participant, Christa McAuliffe
Christa McAuliffe
Christa McAuliffe was an American teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, and was one of the seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster....

, in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

 (STS-51-L
STS-51-L
STS-51-L was the twenty-fifth flight of the American Space Shuttle program, which marked the first time an ordinary civilian, schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, had flown aboard the Space Shuttle. The mission used Space Shuttle Challenger, which lifted off from the Launch Complex 39-B on 28 January...

) four years earlier.

Revivals of the program in the private sector
Private sector
In economics, the private sector is that part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the state...

 have been attempted by private aerospace initiatives.

TISP was announced by President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 on August 27, 1984.
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Encyclopedia
The Teacher in Space Project (TISP) was a NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 program announced by Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 in 1984 designed to inspire students, honor teachers, and spur interest in mathematics, science, and space exploration.

The program was cancelled in 1990 following the death of its first participant, Christa McAuliffe
Christa McAuliffe
Christa McAuliffe was an American teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, and was one of the seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster....

, in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

 (STS-51-L
STS-51-L
STS-51-L was the twenty-fifth flight of the American Space Shuttle program, which marked the first time an ordinary civilian, schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, had flown aboard the Space Shuttle. The mission used Space Shuttle Challenger, which lifted off from the Launch Complex 39-B on 28 January...

) four years earlier.

Revivals of the program in the private sector
Private sector
In economics, the private sector is that part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the state...

 have been attempted by private aerospace initiatives.

History


TISP was announced by President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 on August 27, 1984. More than 11,000 teachers applied for the program; in 1985, NASA selected Christa McAuliffe
Christa McAuliffe
Christa McAuliffe was an American teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, and was one of the seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster....

 to be the first teacher in space with Barbara Morgan
Barbara Morgan
Barbara Radding Morgan is an American teacher and a former NASA astronaut. She participated in the Teacher in Space program as the backup to Christa McAuliffe for the ill-fated STS-51L mission of Space Shuttle Challenger. She then trained as a Mission Specialist, and flew on STS-118 in August 2007...

 as her backup. McAuliffe died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

 (STS-51-L
STS-51-L
STS-51-L was the twenty-fifth flight of the American Space Shuttle program, which marked the first time an ordinary civilian, schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, had flown aboard the Space Shuttle. The mission used Space Shuttle Challenger, which lifted off from the Launch Complex 39-B on 28 January...

) in 1986.

After the Challenger accident, Reagan spoke on national television and assured the nation that the Teacher in Space program would continue. "We'll continue our quest in space", he said. "There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue." However, NASA eliminated the Teacher in Space project and other efforts to send private citizens to space. In the 1990s, the Teacher in Space project was replaced by the Educator Astronaut Project
Educator Astronaut Project
The Educator Astronaut Project is a NASA program designed to educate students and spur excitement in math, science, and space exploration. It is a successor to the Teacher in Space Project of the 1980s that was cancelled after Christa McAuliffe died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster...

. Instead of training teachers for five months to be a spaceflight participant
Spaceflight participant
Spaceflight participant is the term used by National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Russian Federal Space Agency for people who travel aboard space missions coordinated by those agencies who are not part of the crew...

 who would return to the classroom, the Educator Astronaut program required selectees to give up their teaching careers, move to Houston, and become full-time NASA employees.

Morgan was selected as a NASA Mission Specialist in January 1998, 12 years after McAuliffe's death. She was assigned to the crew of STS-118
STS-118
- Crew notes :Astronaut Clayton Anderson originally was slated to be launched to the ISS on this mission, but was moved to STS-117. His replacement was Alvin Drew....

, aboard the orbiter Endeavour
Space Shuttle Endeavour
Space Shuttle Endeavour is one of the retired orbiters of the Space Shuttle program of NASA, the space agency of the United States. Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger...

(the orbiter that replaced Challenger six years after the 1986 accident) which launched on August 8, 2007. Although it was once reported that Morgan would teach some of the same lessons that McAuliffe planned to teach more than 20 years before, Associated Press reports that "Morgan has no plans to give a lesson from space". Shuttle commander Scott Kelly told a journalist, "I don’t have a teacher as a crewmember. I have a crewmember who used to be a teacher". However, three weeks after the mission ended, she lectured a number of space education classes at Walt Disney World, lecturing lessons similar to what McAuliffe would have taught.

In 2010, David Pettersen contacted teacher in space participants and made a re-connection between Christa McAuliffe's 1986 mission and modern-day learning. Pettersen then began a search to find more people who were involved with Christa McAuliffe's life after being inspired by McAuliffe's original mission. Pettersen has also stated that he has no intent to ever become an astronaut or a teacher, but will remain a symbol of the student side of public education.

Rebirth



By the mid 2000s, the Teacher in Space project was revived in the private sector. The development of reusable, suborbital launch vehicles by commercial companies makes it possible for nonprofit groups to contemplate sending large numbers of teachers into space. In 2005, Teacher in Space candidate Pam Leestma, a second-grade teacher and cousin of Space Shuttle astronaut David Leestma
David Leestma
David Cornell Leestma is a former American astronaut.-Personal data:Born May 6, 1949, in Muskegon, Michigan. Married to the former Patti K. Opp of Dallas, Texas. They have six children. He enjoys golfing, tennis, aviation, and fishing. His parents, Dr. and Mrs. Harold F. Leestma, reside in Palm...

, flew a training flight aboard a MiG-21 operated by X-Rocket, LLC. In 2006, the Space Frontier Foundation announced a new project called "Teachers in Space". The plural form indicated the greater number of teachers who might be involved. The Foundation believes that hundreds of teachers might fly in space every year and return to their classrooms to inspire the next generation.

Armadillo Aerospace
Armadillo Aerospace
Armadillo Aerospace is an aerospace startup company based in Mesquite, Texas. Its initial goal is to build a manned suborbital spacecraft capable of space tourism, but it has stated long-term ambitions of orbital spaceflight. The company was founded by John Carmack.On October 24, 2008, Armadillo...

, Masten Space Systems
Masten Space Systems
Masten Space Systems is an aerospace startup company in Mojave, California that is developing a line of vertical takeoff, vertical landing spacecraft, initially for unmanned suborbital research flights and eventually intended to support unmanned orbital launches.- Overview :Masten Space Systems...

, PlanetSpace
PlanetSpace
PlanetSpace is a privately funded Chicago-based rocket and space travel project founded by Geoff Sheerin, CEO of the Canadian Arrow corporation and Dr...

, Rocketplane Limited, Inc.
Rocketplane Limited, Inc.
Rocketplane Limited, Inc. is a defunct aerospace design and development company headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with facilities in Guthrie, Oklahoma and Burns Flat, Oklahoma.- History :...

, and XCOR Aerospace
XCOR Aerospace
XCOR Aerospace is an American private rocket engine and spaceflight development company based at the Mojave Spaceport in Mojave, California. XCOR was formed by former members of the Rotary Rocket rocket engine development team in September, 1999...

 have donated flights to the new Teachers in Space project. Advisors to the new Teachers in Space project include SpaceShipOne builder and Ansari X-Prize winner Burt Rutan
Burt Rutan
Elbert Leander "Burt" Rutan is an American aerospace engineer noted for his originality in designing light, strong, unusual-looking, energy-efficient aircraft...

, X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis
Peter Diamandis
Dr. Peter H. Diamandis , of Greek immigrant parents, is considered a key figure in the development of the personal spaceflight industry, having created many space-related businesses or organizations...

, Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin is an American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force pilot and astronaut who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history...

, and private astronaut and X-Prize sponsor Anousheh Ansari
Anousheh Ansari
Anousheh Ansari is an engineer and the Iranian-American co-founder and chairman of Prodea Systems. Her previous business accomplishments include serving as co-founder and CEO of Telecom Technologies, Inc. . The Ansari family is also the title sponsor of the Ansari X Prize. On September 18, 2006,...

.

The Space Frontier Foundation worked with the United States Rocket Academy to draft rules for a "pathfinder" competition to select the first Teachers in Space. The rules were announced at the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup Competition held at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, New Mexico the weekend of October 26–28. Applications were accepted until November 4, 2008. On July 20, 2009, Teachers in Space announced the next group of teacher astronauts. The seven chosen teachers from around the U.S. are: Maureen Louis Adams, James Kuhl, Lanette Oliver, Stephen Heck, Rachael Manzer, Chantelle Rose, and Robert "Mike" Schmidt. As the commercial flights begin, each of the "Pathfinder 7" will participate in a suborbital flight.

External links