The Teacher in Space Project (TISP) was a NASA program announced by Ronald Reagan in 1984 designed to inspire students, honor teachers, and spur interest in mathematics, science, and space exploration. The project would carry teachers into space as Payload Specialists (non-astronaut civilians), who would return to their classrooms to share the experience with their students. NASA cancelled the program in 1990, following the death of its first participant, Christa McAuliffe, in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster (STS-51-L) on January 28, 1986.
NASA replaced Teachers in Space in 1998 with the Educator Astronaut Project, which required its participants to become astronaut Mission Specialists. The first Educator Astronauts were selected as part of NASA Astronaut Group 19 in 2004. Barbara Morgan, who was selected as a Mission Specialist as part of NASA Astronaut Group 17 in 1998, has often been incorrectly referred to as an Educator Astronaut. However, she was selected as a Mission Specialist before the Educator Astronaut Project.
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