We watched the lift-off of the shuttle Endeavor this evening. Still gives me the tingling feeling every time I watch one of these modern day miracles take place. I cannot begin to relate to the amount of bravery these astronauts possess, to allow themselves to be rocketed into space.
"Endeavor, expanding the International Space Station while creating a classroom in space." I always listen for the blurb the control room says as the lift-off happens. Love 'em.
The buzz for this launch was the amazing story of Barbara Morgan, a 55 year old teacher who was chosen as the back-up for Christa McAuliffe's spot on the Challenger in 1986. They were representing NASA's teacher-in-space program. After 21 long years, Barbara Morgan gets her ride.
Laura Bush phoned the teacher Monday to wish her well and praise her for her dedication to the education of our country's children. Morgan worked for NASA after the Challenger disaster, traveling to schools around the country spreading the word of the benefits of our space program.
The teacher-in-space program was a vision of President Reagan. He thought it was a wonderful tool for promoting the importance of math and science education to school children.
"Morgan is racing toward space on the wings of a legacy." A quote heard from a former astronaut used as a commentator on tv. Well said.
What really impresses me about Barbara Morgan is that she was in such great shape at the age of 55 and able to train and go up as the oldest member of this crew. I'm three years younger than her and I'm awed by her physical superiority.
She'll teach from space. She and maybe other members of the crew will do 20 minute question and answer sessions with students via live television. How cool is that? She brought along 10 million basil seeds and NASA will distribute them to schools around the country upon return to earth. It's an experiment planned to design and build a plant growth chamber like the type future space settlers on the moon and Mars will need to grow fresh food. Now that's exciting.
NASA extended its commitment to the teacher-in-space program in 2004. Three more teachers are now in advanced stages of training. Two are middle school science and math teachers and one is a high school science teacher. Rock on.