August 22, 2007 in Nation/World

Morgan feels weight of the world

Marcia Dunn Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Teacher-in-space Barbara Morgan smiles during a news conference Tuesday. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Adapting to weightlessness was hard. Readapting to gravity was even tougher for teacher-astronaut Barbara Morgan.

Morgan passed up the opportunity to check out space shuttle Endeavour with her six crewmates after Tuesday’s landing. She was too weak and wobbly and hinted that she was nauseous, as well.

“The room still spins a little bit, but that’s OK,” she said.

Morgan – who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup for the doomed Challenger flight in 1986 – said it took her a while to adjust to space. “I felt like I was upside down that entire first day,” said the former McCall, Idaho, teacher.

She’s hoping the readjustment to Earth’s gravity won’t take as long. At a news conference six hours after touchdown, she still looked pale and shaky, but was able to walk unassisted.

“Probably easier adapting to weightlessness than now, but don’t get me wrong, this isn’t that bad,” she told reporters. “It will go away and it’s actually pretty interesting if you could be in my body.”

As for her 13-day flight, it was “absolutely wonderful.”

When asked about her future plans, Morgan said with a smile, “My first plan is to get rid of the room-spinning, and that should happen pretty soon.”

She said she really wants to figure out how the space agency can do a better job helping students and teachers. “And I would love to figure out how we can make more and more of these opportunities available for more of our teachers.”

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