In less than four weeks, McCall, Idaho, elementary school teacher Barbara Morgan will launch as part of a seven-member crew on the Space Shuttle Endeavor, heading out on a space flight she's awaited for 22 years. "It's really starting to feel real now," she said Wednesday. "Lots of things worth doing take a long time to get there. That's one of the things we work with our students (on) all the time. They think, 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to be in school forever.' From their perspective, 12 years of school seems like a long time. … Things worth doing take time and effort, and there's nothing wrong with that."
Morgan was the backup in 1986 for the nation's first designated "Teacher in Space," Christa McAuliffe. The two trained together for the mission. But the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff, killing McAuliffe and the other crew members. "Things are so fresh from 20 years ago," Morgan said. "There have been lots of painful lessons along the way." She's now designated as an "educator-astronaut," a fully trained mission specialist, rather than the original "teacher in space" designation. People shouldn't view her flight as completing what McAuliffe started, she said. Rather, she's continuing McAuliffe's work, Morgan said. Read my full story here in today’s Spokesman-Review.