Houston — Christa McAuliffe, a social studies teacher who is scheduled to become the first educator in space, was given her NASA identification badge Monday and started on a whirlwind schedule to prepare for a January launch on the space shuttle. ``I still can't believe they are actually going to let me go up in the shuttle,'' said Mrs. McAuliffe of Concord, N.H., as she pinned on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) identification badge.
Mrs. McAuliffe and Barbara Morgan, a McCall, Idaho, elementary-school teacher who is the alternate, face four weeks of intensive training, meetings, and other preparation. The two were selected from thousands who applied for NASA's Teacher-in-Space program.
Later in the day, the two teachers were to meet for the first time with the five astronauts who also will be on the January mission aboard Challenger. Dick Scobee will command the flight. Other crew members are Mike Smith, pilot; Judy Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, and Ron McNair, mission specialists. The six-day mission is scheduled for launch Jan. 22.
McAuliffe and Mrs. Morgan will spend this week being fitted for space suits, selecting a menu for the mission and starting on almost 20 hours of reading required for shuttle passengers. There also are hours of classroom lectures and training on the techniques of living in space.