HOUSTON – NASA’s first educator astronaut and former Idaho school teacher Barbara Morgan, set to fly in space this summer, will meet with hundreds of students during “Meet an Astronaut Day” at Space Center Houston Jan. 19. Morgan also will be available for in-person and satellite interviews.

Media are invited to attend the 10:30 a.m. CST event in the center’s Northrop Grumman theater. Interview opportunities also are available. Media should arrive in time to attend a 9 a.m. briefing in the center’s Saturn Club that will provide background on NASA’s Educator Astronaut project.

During her session with the students, Morgan will talk about her role on the crew of space shuttle mission STS-118, an International Space Station assembly flight targeted for launch June 28. Also talking with students will be fellow STS-118 crew member Dave Williams and STS-118 flight directors Matt Abbott and Joel Montalbano. Morgan, Williams, Abbott and Montalbano will be available for brief, in-person interviews following the hour-long event.

For media not planning to attend, Morgan will be available for live satellite interviews Jan. 19 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. To participate, contact NASA’s Johnson Space Center newsroom at 281-483-5111 by 3 p.m. Jan. 18. The interviews will be conducted on the NASA Television analog satellite located at AMC-6, at 72 degrees west longitude; transponder 5C, 3800 MHz, vertical polarization, with audio at 6.8 MHz.

The full schedule of Jan. 19 activities includes (all times Central):

* 9 a.m.-10 a.m. — Educator Astronaut Project briefing at Space Center Houston

* 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. — “Meet an Astronaut Day” event with students

* 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. — Brief, in-person interviews with Morgan and others

* 4 p.m.-6 p.m.– Satellite interviews with Morgan (for media not at Johnson)

A native of Fresno, Calif., and a Stanford alumna, Morgan began teaching in 1974. She began working with NASA in 1985, when she was selected as the backup to Christa McAuliffe for the Teacher in Space Program. In that role, Morgan trained with McAuliffe, who was lost with her crew mates in the Space Shuttle Challenger accident in 1986.

Following the accident, Morgan returned to McCall, Idaho, and continued her teaching career, teaching second, third and fourth grades. She also continued a close association with NASA as the Teacher in Space designee, working with NASA’s Education Division. In 1998, Morgan was selected by NASA as the first educator astronaut in a new project. The Educator Astronaut Project carries on the objectives of the Teacher in Space Program, seeking to elevate teaching as a profession and inspire students. Unlike the Teacher in Space Program, educator astronauts train and become full-time, permanent astronauts. They fly as crew members with critical mission responsibilities, as well as education-related goals. NASA selected three additional educator astronauts in 2004.

Commanding Morgan’s STS-118 mission on the Space Shuttle Endeavour will be U.S. Navy Commander Scott Kelly. The Pilot for the mission is Marine Lt. Col. Charlie Hobaugh. The flight’s mission specialists are Morgan, Rick Mastracchio, Tracy Caldwell, Clay Anderson and Williams, a Canadian Space Agency astronaut. The mission will take Anderson to the International Space Station to begin a stay and return to Earth the station’s Expedition 15 Flight Engineer Suni Williams, now on the orbiting laboratory.

During STS-118, Morgan’s primary duties will include operating the robotic arms of the shuttle and station as crew members install a new section of the station’s girder-like truss and replace a failed gyroscope, among other tasks.

NASA TV will air b-roll of Morgan and the STS-118 crew training, as well as a prerecorded interview with Morgan, beginning Jan. 16. For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:


For more information about STS-118 and its crew, visit: