A nonprofit group, Teachers in Space, is seeking applications for a program to fly teachers to space in suborbital vehicles and return them to the classroom.
The original NASA Teachers in Space program ended with the 1986 Challenger disaster, which killed teacher-astronaut Christa McAuliffe and six other crew members. The program was retooled as the Educator Astronaut program, in which former educators became full-time NASA employees, but did not return to their classrooms. Barbara Morgan was the first Educator Astronaut. She flew aboard the space shuttle in August 2007.
The Teachers in Space nonprofit was set up to revive the original concept of the program. Selected teachers will train during weekends and the summer and will fly on reusable, spacecraft being developed by private industries. The nonprofit expects finalists to be announced in 2009 and for spaceflights to begin in 2010-11.
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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.