All Systems Go for Teacher

Long wait for Morgan, Endeavour set to end with evening launch
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 8, 2007 1:48 PM CDT
Space shuttle Endeavour mission specialist Barbara Morgan, front, and mission specialist Alvin Drew Jr. leave the Operation and Check-out Building to perform training exercises at launch pad 39a at Kennedy...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Countdown is continuing in Florida toward blastoff for the space shuttle Endeavour, the Orlando Sentinel reports, with an 80% chance of favorable conditions at tonight's scheduled launch time of 6:36pm Eastern. Teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan, a backup to the educator killed in the 1986 Challenger disaster, has brought national attention to the mission.

NASA, reeling from a series of scandals, is banking on positive exposure from the presence of Morgan, who trained with Christa McAuliffe. Morgan, who left her Idaho teaching job to join the astronaut corps full-time, is scheduled to conduct in-flight video conferences with students during the mission.