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Educator Astronauts Join the Corps
The Astronaut Candidate Class of 2004 has eleven new faces. Among them are three classroom teachers who are embarking on a bold, new adventure. These excited educators are now full-fledged astronaut candidates and are about to take the wildest ride of their lives.

Mission Specialist-Educators Joe Acaba, Ricky Arnold and Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger were introduced on May 6 as members of the 2004 Astronaut Candidate Class. The candidates will report to NASA's Johnson Space Center this summer. Once settled in Houston, they will begin the intensive training. Initially, they will undergo land survival training, T-38 jet ground and flight training, Shuttle orbiter systems training, Space Station systems training, science and engineering briefings, and orientation tours at all NASA centers, including the Kennedy Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center.

Front cover of the Educator Astronaut Poster
Image above: NASA invited teachers to apply for the Educator Astronaut program.
Credit: NASA
The call went out from NASA in January 2003 for:
  • Educators to help lead the Agency in the development of new ways to connect space exploration with the classroom

  • Educators who are willing to leave their classrooms and join other astronaut candidates in Houston, Texas

  • Educators who can successfully complete 1-2 years of training in order to be eligible for flights aboard the Space Shuttle and, possibly, the International Space Station

  • Educators who can motivate students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics

  • Educators who will inspire the next generation of explorers... as only NASA can!
NASA opened the door to professional educators to apply to the astronaut corps and a dedicated group of teachers stepped up to the challenge. Teachers from elementary, middle and high schools filed their applications with hopes of making the team. Joe, Ricky and Dottie will represent those educators as they train and perform their duties as astronauts. By doing so, they will inspire students to consider careers in math, science, engineering and technology and maybe, some day join the Nation's space program.

Meet the Mission Specialist-Educators:

Picture of Joe Acaba

Information about Joe Acaba:
+ View biography

An interview with Joe Acaba:
+ View interview
Picture of Ricky Arnold

Information about Ricky Arnold:
+ View biography

An interview with Ricky Arnold:
+ View interview
Picture of Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger

Information about Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger:
+ View biography

An interview with Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger:
+ View interview
Related Items:

Astronaut Candidate Class 2004 Announcement:

Astronaut Candidate Class Interviews: