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Teachers Apply for New Astronaut Program

Nyack, NY – September 22, 2008 

Teachers in Space is seeking two Pathfinder Astronauts who will become the first astronaut teachers to fly in space and return to the classroom.

“Unlike the Educator Astronaut program, which takes teachers out of schools to join the NASA astronaut corps, we want to put astronaut teachers into American classrooms,” said Teachers in Space project manager Edward Wright.

“TIS will allow teachers to keep their day jobs,” Wright said. Pathfinder Astronauts will train on weekends and during the summer, so they will be able to keep their their full-time teaching jobs. “There will be about three weeks of training in total,” Wright said, “which will include both spaceflight training and professional development activities to improve their abilities as teachers.”

After they fly in space, Pathfinder Astronauts will be invited to return each summer to help teach the training course for new astronaut teachers. Eventually, Teachers in Space would like to fly 200 teachers a year, four from each and every state in the Union.

Teachers in Space began as a NASA project to fly a single teacher aboard the Space Shuttle. The original TIS project ended when the Challenger accident claimed the life of teacher Christa McAuliffe. NASA replaced Teachers in Space with the Educator Astronaut program, in which former teachers become full-time NASA employees. The original vision of putting an astronaut back into an American classroom was lost. That vision is now being revived by the new Teachers in Space program, a non-profit project of the Space Frontier Foundation and the United States Rocket Academy.

Rather than relying on the Space Shuttle, the new Teachers in Space program will use the new reusable suborbital spacecraft now being developed by American industry. These new spacecraft, which promise dramatic improvements in cost and safety, will enable large numbers of teachers to fly in space. “We want to put a thousand astronaut teachers into American schools, within the next decade,” Wright said.

The Pathfinder Astronauts will be the leaders who blaze the path for the large number of teachers who follow. 

More information about Teachers in Space is available on the project’s website: www.teachers-in-space.org

Pathfinder application forms and information about the application process are available at:www.teachers-in- space.org/apply/apply.htm.

Teachers can submit applications for the Pathfinder program any time between now and December 4, 2008. Finalists will be announced and training will begin in 2009, which Pathfinder spaceflights expected to take place some time in 2010 or 2011.

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