Q: What is the relationship between the NASA and the Teachers in Space project?
A: We adopted the name Teachers in Space as a tribute to NASA’s original Teachers in Space program. (NASA ended that Teachers in Space program after the Challenger disaster and replaced it with the still ongoing Educator Astronaut Project.) Although TIS is about NewSpace, where the advances are primarily being made through the private sector, thumb NASA is our largest source of support.
Q: How do I express my interest in individual spaceflight?
A: Right now, after a nationwide competition, we have selected seven Pathfinder teachers. As we expand our funding sources we will be offering additional opportunities. When those opportunities open up we’ll make a new call for the next generation flyers.
Q: What spacecraft will take us into suborbital flight?
A: There are a number of companies developing suborbital flight vehicles, notably XCOR Aerospace, Armadillo Aerospace, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. Check out their websites for exciting developments. Get to know each of these companies. They are the stuff of NewSpace.
Q: How does this relate to the space tourism industry I hear about?
A: The same spacecraft that will be taking paying adventure travelers into space will also take teachers and researchers.
Q: How many teachers will TIS fly into space?
A: Our goal is to have hundreds fly in this first phase of the project, and thousands as we move further out in time.
Q: When did NewSpace begin?
A: While we didn’t invent the word “NewSpace” until 2004, the ideas that became NewSpace originated in the 1970s among a number of people, notably Gerard K. O’Neill, who began to think about space as a resource rich place that could be used to solve the serious, long-term problems of human civilization. NewSpace began to take physical form with the Conestoga rocket in the 1980s and the DC-X in the 1990s before reaching complete reality in 2004 with SpaceShipOne.
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