Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Space Travel News  

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Completing The Mission After 21 Years

A poster from the 1986 teacher in space program.

Editor's note: In 1986, Ed Campion was a NASA public affairs officer working on the Teacher in Space program. Now news chief at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, he sent this e-mail to friends offering his personal thoughts before the launch of STS-118. He graciously gave it to NASA for all to read.
by Ed Campion
News Chief, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt MD (GSFC) Aug 08, 2007
Dear Friends: It is time for another one of those periodic rambling e-mails that yours truly is famous for sending out on occasion. I know I've missed sending out year-end summary of activities in holiday cards and promise to give the complete Eduardo recap at some point later this year but for now, I just would like to talk two numbers: 7,861 and 1.

Most of you are already familiar with my NASA career, but for those friends who have come into my life more recently, I will give a short background briefing.

Way back in 1984, yours truly was a fresh-faced young public affairs officer assigned to the space agency's new Teacher-in-Space project. For the better part of a year, I basically spent night and day with the national selection process, the 10 finalists evaluation and finally the naming of Christa McAuliffe and Barbara Morgan as the prime and back-up Teacher in Space finalists. Through several more months of training and media activities, everything was driven towards the day that a teacher would fly on the space shuttle.

On Jan. 28, 1986, Space Shuttle Challenger, with the 51-L crew aboard, launched at 11:38 a.m. It was my first launch and as the shuttle rose off the launch pad, it was the most awe-inspiring sight I had ever seen. All the long work hours that had been put in just seemed to disappear and the feeling was one of, "Wow, the dream has finally come true."

And 73 seconds later, the dream became a nightmare.

The plan had been for Christa to teach two live lessons from space. She was going to tell kids about what it was like to live and work aboard the space shuttle and why space exploration was important. Instead, the lesson taught that day was the frailty of human life and the horrible price that is sometimes paid in humankind's exploration efforts.

But that is enough about Jan. 28, 1986, and here is where those two numbers I mentioned earlier now come into play.

It has been 7,861 days since the Challenger accident. Think about all the things you have done and have experienced in the last 21-plus years: the different jobs you've had, the people who have come into or gone out of your life, all the new places you have visited, things you have learned, etc. Now think about this: Barbara Morgan has been carrying the teacher-in-space banner that whole time.

She has endured more media attention and public scrutiny than most politicians or celebrities have to bear and through it all she has stayed true to her beliefs. She could have made herself out to be a victim or tried to make money in some tell-all book or just walked away and tried to resume a quiet normal life but she believed in what the teacher-in-space concept could do. She recognized the potential the program had for inspiring youth she has carried that promise for the last 7,861 days.

And now we are 1 day away from Barbara finally getting the opportunity to fly aboard the Space Shuttle.

If things go as planned, Barbara and the STS-118 crew will launch aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour (the Shuttle that replaced Challenger) at 6:36 p.m. tomorrow evening. I'm down at the Kennedy Space Center press site and I'll be standing right where I was standing so many years ago. People have asked me if my being at KSC is for closureŁ or just wanting to be part of the media support team for the 118 mission, and I'm sure those are elements are in play.

I just know that deep down in my soul there is no place else I could be tomorrow.

So depending on what you're doing on Wednesday night, turn on your television and watch an event that will hopefully remind you that there are still people like Barbara who can inspire all of us.

Take care,

Related Links
Station at NASA
Christa McAuliffe at Wiki
Shuttle at NASA
Watch NASA TV via Space.TV
Space Shuttle News at Space-Travel.Com

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

NASA Launches Space Shuttle Endeavour For Station Teach-In
Washington (AFP) Aug 08, 2007
Space Shuttle Endeavour was blasted off early Wednesday evening sending the first teacher into space 21 years after the Challenger explosion tragically ended the dream of another pioneering teacher. Teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan, 55, has become the star of the second shuttle mission to the International Space Station this year. Weather conditions were perfect and all other countdown procedures went smoothly allowing an on time lift off at 6:36 pm (2236 GMT) Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

  • UC Experts Detail New Standard For Cleaner Transportation Fuels
  • Indigenous Cryogenic Stage Tested For Eight Minutes
  • Ecliptic Celebrates A Decade Of Successful RocketCam Launches
  • Launch Gantry At Cape A Bridge To The Future

  • ILS to Launch Inmarsat Satellite On Proton Vehicle Next Spring
  • Russian Proton-M Rocket To Launch Japanese Telecoms Satellite
  • A Double Transfer At The Spaceport For The Next Two Ariane 5 Launchers
  • European Automated Space Truck Arrive At South American Spaceport

  • NASA Launches Space Shuttle Endeavour For Station Teach-In
  • NASA Design Challenge Registration Opens
  • Completing The Mission After 21 Years
  • AeroAstro-built STPSat-1 Spacecraft Positions For Shuttle Plume

  • Progress Cargo Ship With Computer Equipment Docks With ISS
  • Progress 26 To Dock Sunday At Station
  • Russian Space Cargo Ship Progress Undocks From ISS
  • Progress To Launch To Space Station

  • Historic Phoenix Mars Mission Flies Actel RTAX-S Devices
  • Spaceport America Design Team Selected
  • Making the Transition From Shuttle To Constellation
  • Houston Wine Company Offers Wine Discount To NASA Astronauts

  • China Trains Rescue Teams For Third Manned Space Program
  • Chinese Astronauts Begin Training For Spacewalk
  • China Prepares To Select New Taikonauts
  • Dongfanghong 4 Ready For More International Satellite Orders

  • Successful Jules Verne Rendezvous Simulation At ATV Control Centre
  • Robotic Einstein Wows Spanish Technology Fair
  • Robotic Ankle For Amputees Is Developed
  • iRobot Receives New Military Orders 14 PackBot Robots

  • Brighter Skies Lifts Rover Spirit As MER-A Gets Active
  • Dallas Professor Helps Mission To Red Planet
  • NASA Sends Robotic Lander In Search Of Water And Life On Mars
  • Extreme Analytical Chemistry Will Help Unravel Mars Mysteries

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright Space.TV Corporation. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space.TV Corp on any Web page published or hosted by Space.TV Corp. Privacy Statement