Astronaut Barbara Morgan Plans to Leave NASA, Return to Public Education
The first educator mission specialist, Barbara R. Morgan, plans to leave NASA to join Boise State University in August. She will serve as the distinguished educator in residence, providing vision and leadership to the state of Idaho on science, technology, engineering and math education.
Morgan flew aboard space shuttle Endeavour for the STS-118 mission to the International Space Station in August 2007. She was responsible for the 5,000 pounds of supplies and equipment that was transferred between the shuttle and station. She also operated the shuttle and station robotic arms during spacewalk and hardware installation tasks.
She served as the backup to payload specialist Christa McAuliffe in the Teacher in Space Project. McAuliffe and six fellow astronauts lost their lives in the Challenger accident on Jan. 28, 1986. Morgan, who was an elementary school teacher in McCall, Idaho, before being selected as McAuliffe's backup, returned to teaching after the accident. She was selected to train as a mission specialist in 1998 and was named to the STS-118 crew in 2002.
Three other educator mission specialists, Richard Arnold, Joseph Acaba and Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, are training for future spaceflights. Arnold and Acaba are assigned to fly on the STS-119 space shuttle mission to the station next year.
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