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Press Release
Media Contact: 800-787-7223 or press@space-frontier.org
Space Flight Firms Donate Rides to Teachers
New Teachers In Space Program Gains Momentum

Teachers in Space
Click above to visit the Teachers in Space web site.
Phoenix, AZ, April 21, 2006 – Responding to the recent announcement of the Space Frontier Foundation's Teachers in Space program, three U.S. suborbital space flight firms have donated the trip of a lifetime: a free ride for a teacher on their rocket ships when they become operational in the next few years. Dallas-based Armadillo Aerospace, Oklahoma's Rocketplane and California's XCOR Aerospace are each developing their own vehicles to carry customers to the edge of space, much like Burt Rutan's famed SpaceShipOne. Each of the companies has committed to providing a ride for a teacher, valued at between $100,000 and $200,000.

"These folks get it!" said Bill Boland, team leader of the Teachers In Space program. "They understand how the real-life experience of space flight can touch the classroom. These new American heroes are offering tickets, at a real financial cost to them, to support America's future, its teachers and students."

As we begin the new millennium, America's educational system is facing major challenges, particularly in the areas of math and science. At the same time, a new suborbital human space flight industry is being born, offering much lower costs than the discontinued NASA Teacher in Space program, which cost millions per flight. That program selected only a few teachers, and required them to leave their classrooms for months, if not years. The new Teachers In Space program will recognize many more excellent teachers, giving them an early chance to fly, and getting them back into the classroom where they can pass on their excitement to their students.

"To open space, we will need a workforce that is educated and motivated. Inspiring today's students and their teachers by putting them in direct contact with this new space industry does just that," stated Jeff Greason, XCOR President.

"Inspiration always accelerates education," added President and CEO of Rocketplane, George French, "and history shows that there is almost nothing that is more inspiring than space flight."

"Reducing the ‘degrees of separation’ between students and space will have a significant impact on their selection of goals to work toward," remarked John Carmack of Armadillo Aerospace. "Just knowing a teacher that knows a teacher that has actually been to space brings it within reach."

The Foundation's Teachers In Space program was first announced several weeks ago at the National Science Teachers Association conference. Its goal is to send hundreds of teachers a year into space. The group is seeking private and government support for "scholarships" that can be used by teachers to buy rides on any proven vehicle. Although commercial flights will not be available for more than a year, the Foundation is developing this program now, so once the firms are flying and capable, the first teachers will be selected. As a first step, Teachers In Space is asking for selection criteria suggestions on its web site: www.teachersinspace.org.

"This is an unprecedented public show of unity by these leaders of NewSpace. In acknowledging their generosity, we are not endorsing any firms, technologies or plans over any others," explained the Foundation's Rick Tumlinson. "But we thank and honor them for being the first to step up to the challenge. We are eager to hear from other companies, organizations and individuals that want to support this exciting program, and we hope to be able to make more such announcements in the near future. This is just the beginning!"

Tumlinson, Carmack, Boland Tumlinson, Greason, Boland Tumlinson, French, Boland
Pictured here with Foundation Founder Rick Tumlinson and Teachers in Space Project Manager Bill Boland are, from left, John Carmack of Armadillo Aerospace, Jeff Greason of XCOR, and George French of Rocketplane.

For more information on the Teachers In Space program, please e-mail us at: us@teachersinspace.org.

Related: MSNBC.com's article by science editor Alan Boyle: Private space ventures save seats for teachers, Suborbital companies reserve three free tickets to edge of space

The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization of people dedicated to opening the Space Frontier to human settlement as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth's fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for each generation by using the unlimited energy and material resources of space. Our purpose is to unleash the power of free enterprise and lead a united humanity permanently into the Solar System.

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Our definition of a "frontier enabling" technology or policy is one which has as its effect the acceleration of the creation of low cost access to the space frontier for private citizens and companies, enables or accelerates our use of space resources, and/or accelerates the rate at which wealth can be generated in space. In other words, is the project or policy going to provide a return on the national investment, if we define "return" to be the economically sustainable human habitation of space?

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