NASA reviewing Educator Astronaut applications
Posted: June 23, 2003

The countdown has started for teachers from around the United States striving to become permanent members of NASA's Astronaut Corps.

NASA will review more than 1,600 applications from teachers for the three to six slots in the first class of Educator Astronauts. Educator Astronauts will be trained to perform spacewalks, operate the Space Shuttle's robotic arm and lead research experiments. Educator Astronauts will also share their extraordinary experience with millions of students and teachers in a unique NASA program designed to show learning in a whole new light.

Educator Astronauts will be able to provide a direct connection between America's teachers and students, and the various careers and opportunities associated with space exploration through the Nation's aerospace program. The Educator Astronaut Program (EAP) will generate renewed interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and cultivate a new generation of scientists and engineers.

NASA will use criteria developed by a Blue Ribbon Panel to identify the final candidates. The panel is comprised of a diverse group of educators from the K-12 education community. The Space Foundation, one of the world's leading non-profit organizations supporting space activities and education, won a competitive bid to convene the Blue Ribbon Panel.

The nine-member Blue Ribbon Panel will meet at the Space Foundation headquarters for an intensive five-week effort before submitting final criteria to NASA in July. The panel's goal is to establish an efficient and effective mechanism for selecting applicants, reviewing existing Educator Astronaut evaluative data, researching the literature on quality teachers, and identifying selection criteria.

The Space Foundation conducts two of the top conferences for space professionals; the National Space Symposium and the International Space Symposium. Since 1986, the Space Foundation has trained more than 30,000 teachers via graduate courses and national conferences.

More than 20,000 people have joined Educator Astronaut Earth Crew, which is a web-based education program that enables members to participate in NASA's missions. Earth Crew members can participate in national Web casts and assist NASA Mission Planners in organizing potential experiments and activities for the Educator Astronauts in space.

For information about the EAP and the Earth Crew on the Internet, visit: