First Teacher Rockets to Space
Endeavour launches without a hitch 21 years after McAuliffe tragedy
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2007 4:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – Former schoolteacher Barbara Morgan safely reached space last night when the shuttle Endeavour rocketed through a problem-free launch. Ten minutes after its evening blastoff, the shuttle was orbiting 140 miles above the Earth in preparation for docking with the International Space Station tomorrow. Morgan is the first astronaut teacher since Christa McAuliffe, who died seconds after liftoff in 1986 when the Challenger exploded.

NASA's mission commentator remarked that Morgan, who trained with McAuliffe as a backup teacher, was "racing toward space on the wings of a legacy." The 11-day mission may be extended three days, depending on the success of a new power hookup with the space station. The longer mission would give Morgan time for two more video linkups with students.