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Preparing the Next Generation
 
Three astronauts wearing blue flight suits floating in microgravity

Educator Astronauts Richard Arnold, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenberger and Joseph Acaba are a part of the Educator Astronaut Project. Image Credit: NASA

Through STS-118, Barbara Morgan will bridge the objectives set forth in the Teacher in Space Program of the mid-1980's to NASA's current Educator Astronaut Project. With the goal of elevating the teaching profession and using the excitement of space exploration and the experiences of astronauts to inspire and engage the next generation of explorers, Educator Astronauts bring a unique set of skills and talents to the astronaut corps. In addition to their technical assignments, they assist other astronauts in connecting to students and teachers through space exploration.

Recruited through the Educator Astronaut Project, three additional Educator Astronauts were selected as part of the 2004 astronaut class: Joseph Acaba, Richard Arnold and Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenberger. After 18 months of intense training, they received NASA Astronaut pins in a graduation ceremony on Feb. 10, 2006, and now support various aspects of the station operations in the Astronaut Office at JSC.

The Educator Astronaut Project is one of many unique activities within the NASA Education portfolio aimed at developing the STEM workforce and attracting and retaining students in STEM disciplines. NASA Education also looks to build strategic partnerships and linkages between formal and informal education providers that promote STEM and NASA awareness. For more information on NASA's education programs and the Educator Astronaut Project, please visit www.nasa.gov/education.