Barbara Morgan


Barbara Radding Morgan is the first NASA astronaut designated as an Educator Mission Specialist or teacher in space and became the first teacher in space. Morgan initially trained as the backup to Christa McAuliffe for the ill-fated STS-51-L mission of Space Shuttle Challenger and has remained involved in the space program since.

Barbara Morgan Picture - First Teacher in Space


Barbara Morgan was born 28 November, 1951, in Fresno, California. She is married to writer Clay Morgan of McCall, Idaho. They have two sons. She is a classical flautist who also enjoys jazz, literature, hiking, swimming, cross-country skiing and her family. Her parents are Dr. and Mrs Jerry Radding.


Hoover High School, Fresno, California, 1969; B.A., Human Biology, with distinction, Stanford University, 1973; Teaching Credential, College of Notre Dame, Belmont, California, 1974.

Teaching Career:

Morgan began her teaching career in 1974 on the Flathead Indian Reservation at Arlee Elementary School in Arlee, Montana, where she taught remedial reading and math. From 1975-1978, she taught remedial reading/math and second grade at McCall-Donnelly Elementary School in McCall, Idaho. From 1978-1979, Morgan taught English and science to third graders at Colegio Americano de Quito in Quito, Ecuador. From 1979-1998, she taught second, third, and fourth grades at McCall-Donnelly Elementary School.


Morgan was selected as the backup candidate for the NASA Teacher in Space Program on 19 July, 1985. From September 1985 to January 1986, Morgan trained with Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger crew at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. Following the Challenger accident, Morgan assumed the duties of Teacher in Space Designee. From March 1986 to July 1986, she worked with NASA, speaking to educational organizations throughout the country. In the fall of 1986, Morgan returned to Idaho to resume her teaching career. She taught second and third grades at McCall-Donnelly Elementary and continued to work with NASA’s Education Division, Office of Human Resources and Education. Her duties as Teacher in Space Designee included public speaking, educational consulting, curriculum design, and serving on the National Science Foundation’s Federal Task Force for Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.

Selected by NASA as a mission specialist in January 1998, Morgan reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1998. Following the completion of two years of training and evaluation, she was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch. She then served in the Astronaut Office CAPCOM Branch, working in Mission Control as prime communicator with on-orbit crews. More recently, she served in the Robotics Branch of the Astronaut Office. Morgan is assigned to the crew of STS-118, an assembly mission to the International Space Station. The mission will launch in August 2007.

STS-118 Mission

The mission will mark the first flight of an Educator Astronaut, the successor program to NASA’s Teacher in Space Project (which ended in tragedy when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff during STS-51-L). It is the final scheduled flight of the Spacehab module and is the first flight of Endeavour since STS-113 in November 2002, the last successful flight before the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-107. The STS-118 mission will deliver the starboard S5 truss segment to the International Space Station.

Did you know?

* Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the First Woman in Space. She flew on the Vostok 5 mission which was launched on 16 June, 1963.


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