It will be at least another year before McCall third-grade teacher Barbara Morgan learns whether she will have a chance to fly on a space shuttle.
Morgan, who has been waiting five years for the opportunity, says she's disappointed at the latest delay."I'm ready, and I feel the education community is ready," she said. "Now is the right time, because education is on everybody's mind. It's definitely on the top of President Bush's agenda, and I know it is part of the top of NASA's (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) agenda."
Morgan is NASA's Teacher in Space. The Teacher in Space program was the first phase of the Space Flight Participant project designed to give people other than astronauts and scientists a ride on the space shuttle.
But the program was shaken in January 1986 when the first Teacher in Space, Christa McAuliffe of New Hampshire, was killed along with six other crew members when the shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff.
Morgan, who was the first alternate behind McAuliffe, has been waiting for five years to be booked on a mission.
She said she has been advised that a NASA review of the policy of allowing ordinary citizens in space has led to the policy being put on hold for another year.
In a statement, the NASA review board said it would be premature to book Morgan for a shuttle this year because of the continuing backlog of high-priority missions scheduled. The policy will be reviewed in a year.
Morgan said the Teacher in Space program has as much value as launching a satellite or conducting scientific experiments.
"A mission for education is crucial," she said. "It highlights what's good about teaching and what's good about the space program. It's a good match."
She teaches at a McCall elementary school. McCall is about 100 miles north of Boise in western Idaho.
Morgan said she definitely would not be a candidate for the Soviet teacher-in-space mission announced earlier this month.
A U.S. teacher will be taken into space to visit the Soviet space station Mir in 1993, according to published reports.
The teacher to be flown will be selected during a nationwide search to be conducted this fall, with the winner announced in July 1992.
"I would encourage any teacher in this country to go for it," Morgan said.