August 2, 2007

Barbara Morgan Launch

This special hour-long Dialogue celebrates former Idaho teacher Barbara Morgan's upcoming launch into space on the Shuttle Endeavour.

The program includes a video piece produced by host Marcia Franklin, which recaps Morgan's 22-year odyssey since she was first picked as a backup to teacher-in-space Christa McAuliffe in 1985. When McAuliffe died in the space shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986, the teacher-in-space program was scuttled. Then in 1998, NASA asked Morgan to return to NASA to be fully trained as an "educator astronaut." She has been in Houston since then preparing for a launch, and will perform critical assignments on STS-118, the name for her mission, which will continue the construction of the International Space Station.

Franklin's piece includes interviews with Morgan throughout the years, as well as with her husband, former students, and crewmates. Franklin talks with four guests who know Barbara, including one of the other teacher-in-space finalists, former Boise High teacher Dave Marquart.

Other guests include Cindy McArthur, the lead for the Teaching In Space program, Kevin Collins, the former director of science education for the Idaho Department of Education, and Tom Campbell, director of the T.C. Bird planetarium in Boise.

The guests talk about Morgan's perseverance, as well as her educational mission, which has changed significantly since she was first chosen. They also share their views on the value of space exploration.

This is one of a series of programs that Idaho Public Television is planning about Morgan's mission.