Teacher in Space Project
|Teacher in Space Project|
Logo of the Teacher in Space Project
|Goals||Spur student interest in mathematics, science, and space exploration|
|Achieved||Launched Christa McAuliffe on STS-51-L; killed during launch in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster|
|Related programs||Educator Astronaut Project|
The Teacher in Space Project (TISP) was a NASA program announced by Ronald Reagan in 1984 designed to inspire students, honor teachers, and spur interest in mathematics, science, and space exploration.
Revivals of the program in the private sector have been attempted by private aerospace initiatives.
TISP was announced by President Ronald Reagan on August 27, 1984. More than 11,000 teachers applied for the program; in 1985, NASA selected Christa McAuliffe to be the first teacher in space with Barbara Morgan as her backup. McAuliffe died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster (STS-51-L) in 1986.
After the Challenger accident, Reagan spoke on national television and assured the nation that the Teacher in Space program would continue. "We'll continue our quest in space", he said. "There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue." However, NASA eliminated the Teacher in Space project and other efforts to send private citizens to space. In the 1990s, the Teacher in Space project was replaced by the Educator Astronaut Project. Instead of training teachers for five months to be a spaceflight participant who would return to the classroom, the Educator Astronaut program required selectees to give up their teaching careers, move to Houston, and become full-time NASA employees.
Morgan was selected as a NASA Mission Specialist in January 1998, 12 years after McAuliffe's death. She was assigned to the crew of STS-118, aboard the orbiter Endeavour (the orbiter that replaced Challenger six years after the 1986 accident) which launched on August 8, 2007. Although it was once reported that Morgan would teach some of the same lessons that McAuliffe planned to teach more than 20 years before, Associated Press reports that "Morgan has no plans to give a lesson from space". Shuttle commander Scott Kelly told a journalist, "I don’t have a teacher as a crewmember. I have a crewmember who used to be a teacher". However, three weeks after the mission ended, she lectured a number of space education classes at Walt Disney World, lecturing lessons similar to what McAuliffe would have taught.
In the early 21st Century, the Teacher in Space project was revived in the private sector. The development of reusable, suborbital launch vehicles by commercial companies makes it possible for nonprofit groups to contemplate sending large numbers of teachers into space. The new Teachers in Space program (plural to indicate that many teachers would be involved) began in 2005. In March 2005, Teacher in Space candidate Pam Leestma, a second-grade teacher and cousin of Space Shuttle astronaut David Leestma, completed a training flight aboard a MiG-21 operated by X-Rocket, LLC. In 2006, the United States Rocket Academy partnered with the Space Frontier Foundation.
Armadillo Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, PlanetSpace, Rocketplane Limited, Inc., and XCOR Aerospace pledged flights to the new Teachers in Space project. Advisors to the new Teachers in Space project include SpaceShipOne builder and Ansari X-Prize winner Burt Rutan, X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis, Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and private astronaut and X-Prize sponsor Anousheh Ansari.
The United States Rocket Academy worked with the SFF to draft rules for a "pathfinder" competition to select the first Teachers in Space. The rules were announced at the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup Competition held at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, New Mexico the weekend of October 26–28. Applications were accepted until November 4, 2008. On July 20, 2009, Teachers in Space announced its first group of astronaut teacher candidates. 
During this period, the United States Rocket Academy acquired a contract for 10 suborbital spaceflights, believed to be the largest single bulk purchase of suborbital spaceflights in history.
Related Projects 
In 2012, the United States Rocket Academy announced a split from the original Teachers in Space program partnership with Space Frontier Foundation. The original Teachers in Space Project continues as a project of the Space Frontier Foundation with the mission to inspire teachers to spark a transfer of passion to their students and prepares them for the emerging new generation of space development. A new project, called Citizens in Space, was born from the split to become a separately operating project emphasizing citizen science as well as citizen spaceflight.
See also 
- "The Challenger Story: The Teacher in Space Project". Retrieved 2007-08-14.
- Reagan, Ronald (1986-01-28). "Address to the nation on the Challenger disaster". Office of the President. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- Schnider, Mike (2007-08-04). "After 22-Year Wait, Teacher Barbara Morgan Ready To Blast Off To Space Station". The Free Library (Associated Press). Retrieved 2009-12-08.
- Wolcott, Bill (2007-07-31). "Writer supports teacher in space program". Allied News.com. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- "Teacher-astronaut takes mission to Disney". CNN.[dead link]
- Wright, Edward (2005-03-31). "Teacher In Space Candidate Completes Proficiency Flight". X-rocket. Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- Tumlinson, Rick (2006-04-11). "Teachers in Space Foundation Wants Hundreds to Fly". Space Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- Tumlinson (2006-10-16). "Masten Space Systems Donates Rocket Ride to Teacher". Space Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- Tumlinson (2006-10-16). "PlanetSpace Joins Teachers in Space Project". Space Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- Tumlinson (2006-04-21). "New Teachers In Space Program Gains Momentum". Space Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- Tumlinson (2007-08-08). "Godspeed Barbara Morgan; Plans for Large Numbers of Teachers in Space". Space Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- "Teachers in Space". Teachers in Space. 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Teachers in Space Project at Space Frontier Foundation
- Citizens in Space
- Barbara Morgan-Astronaut, Teacher in Space, NEA Member
- President Reagan's Remarks to the Finalists in the Teacher in Space Project (June 26, 1985)