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NASA set to send teacher into space

CAPE CANAVERAL (Florida), Aug 9: NASA was set to send the first teacher into space aboard shuttle Endeavour on Wednesday, 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 the year, which has otherwise been marked by embarrassing stories of drunken and love-crazed astronauts.

First Lady Laura Bush, a former teacher herself, called Morgan Tuesday to offer congratulations from "one school teacher to another." Morgan, who was preparing to board Endeavour for the evening launch in Florida, had trained alongside fellow teacher Christa McAuliffe in the 1980s as a backup for the Challenger shuttle mission.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration had hoped that sending a teacher into space would fire the imaginations of millions and keep up support for its shuttle program. AFP
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