October 03, 2007

CRAPO, MORGAN AGREE EFFORTS IN SPACE MUST CONTINUE

Both say Discovery Center student downlink a good model for future missions

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo met today with NASA Educator Mission Specialist Barbara Morgan, and both agreed that the recent downlink from Morgan's shuttle mission to Idaho students should be a model for future space missions. Crapo met with Morgan and two other members of the recent Space Shuttle Endeavor mission crew, Charles Hobaugh and Tracy Caldwell, this morning in his Washington, DC, office.

"There is no question about the benefits of continuing NASA missions and the educator in space program as we move to Project Constellation, the next chapter in our space program," Crapo said. "One of those benefits is obvious-the value of science education these missions can bring to our future leaders. Barbara and I agreed that the downlink from her shuttle mission to Idaho students at the Discovery Center of Idaho should serve as a model for future space missions. Her education efforts have brought learning to students in ways few efforts can."

Morgan and her crew colleagues gave Crapo NASA pins, photos, patches and two NASA photo collages of the shuttle flight for display in his offices. Both reiterated their hopes for a follow-up visit to the Discovery Center of Idaho during December. Crapo had encouraged NASA repeatedly to continue the education in space mission when the Challenger disaster had put the effort in doubt.

"Senator Crapo has been a strong advocate and we will continue to count on his support for future NASA missions," Morgan said.

There has been a concern that the use by Congress of continuing budget resolutions while appropriations matters are worked out could hurt NASA's goals of planning for flights to the International Space Station and on to Mars. The current space shuttle fleet is set to be retired by the end of the decade. Unmanned flights of the new generation of space vehicles could begin in 2009, with a manned flight possible by 2015. Crapo said the success of programs like the educator in space should demonstrate the wide audience for NASA missions and a strong rationale for continuing the space program.