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Astronaut teacher flies surprise souvenirs

August 14, 2007 — Barbara Morgan, the first of NASA's educator astronauts to fly in space, has surprises aboard space shuttle Endeavour for the people and organizations that have supported her 22 year journey to orbit.

"I am flying..." began Morgan, responding to a query by collectSPACE about the items she was taking. After a pause however, she asked, "Can I keep that a surprise?" noting that the recipients weren't aware about the items.

(At her request, collectSPACE has omitted the specific items Morgan is flying from the Official Flight Kit manifest of souvenirs from space reprinted below.)

Morgan was originally selected as back-up to Teacher In Space finalist Christa McAuliffe, who died on Challenger with the STS-51L crew in January 1986. Ten years later, NASA announced it would train Morgan as an astronaut, leading to her current STS-118 flight on-board Endeavour.

As part of her mission, Morgan is chaperoning millions of basil seeds to and from space, to later be distributed to students who design plant growth chambers for future use on the Moon.

Though Morgan desired to keep her personal mementos private, her fellow crew mates spoke with collectSPACE before they launched about the souvenirs they packed to orbit for others.

Mission Specialist Al Drew, who was the last astronaut to be assigned to the STS-118 crew, selected a souvenir that had connections to both his place aboard Endeavour and to his high school in Washington, DC.

"Every crew member has a letter associated with him and being the seventh crew member, I got 'G'. Everybody has a color associated with him and mine is actually purple. The big thing at Gonzaga [College High School] is that we are the 'Purple Eagles' and I have a big purple 'G', so I figured I would put that right on my checklist and be happy to fly that," explained Drew.

"I am also a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for their graduate school, so I am going to fly one of their alumni patches and bumper stickers for that," continued Drew. "Not flying anything for the Air Force Academy because I think there's probably been 10,000 people flying things for the Air Force Academy in space.

Besides his schools, Drew is also flying patches from his time as a "rotorhead", a helicopter pilot in the Air Force. In particular, he packed patches for the squadrons he led.

"I commanded a test unit at Hurlburt Field, testing special operations aircraft. [I am] flying one of their patches. They have actually gotten bigger and fancier since I was there, so I am flying the old patch from when they were just a humble detachment," he said.

Like Drew, mission specialist Tracy Caldwell took items from her academic history. She is flying mementos for "the professors and advisors that have been instrumental in my development and in my education, kind of getting me where I am today," she said.

"Like from the town that I kind of grew up in, has a banner that represents all of the schools in that area. It's kind of a small town, so they can all fit on one banner," Caldwell said while laughing. "And my mom is really involved in the school system over there so it's kind of special that she can be involved in that as well."

Caldwell took a doll, "Peter the Anteater" from University of California, Irvine, where she was a postdoctoral fellow. The toy mascot has a flag reading "First EMSI in Space", with EMSI standing for Environmental Molecular Sciences Institute, a nationwide group that funds research at UCI.

Caldwell also has items from California State University at Fullerton and the University of California, Davis, her alma maters from which she earned her bachelor and doctorate in chemistry respectively.

"My research advisor from UC Davis who is a close friend, I asked him to make something. He had made up a banner that had the school's emblem and the department's emblem and then it had a molecular reaction and it had some names. When I first looked at it, I [said] 'Oh, that's cool,' 'cause you know it's got these molecules on it and then I look at it closer and I realized it was the reaction, the mechanism that I discovered," described Caldwell. "It was actually the header to a paper that I wrote, and that was my name and then my lab partner's name and his name, as if it were on the actual journal article itself. And he took the mechanism that I determined, I shouldn't say I discovered it, and it was my very first paper. It was a very momentous thing."

"It's kind of funny when you ask people to provide these items because they think of you instantly and then whatever item they come up with they want to represent you. And me, as the person doing the asking, I want it to represent them because I get all this cool stuff, I get to go up in space! I want to take something for [them] and it's kind of funny that interchange of "No, no, no... I want it to be about you, not about me," but sometimes you cannot convince them," shared Caldwell.

STS-118 spacewalker Rick Mastracchio took a different approach with his personal "slots" on-board Endeavour.

"I offered most of them up to folks who work at NASA. I suggested to our commander Scott Kelly, I said 'Hey, the folks that process the vehicle down at KSC, why don't we offer them up some of our personal spots.' I said, 'I'll give up five or 10 of my slots' — we get 20 of them — 'I'll be glad to offer up 5 or 10 of them, because if these folks at the Kennedy Space Center do their job, and they do, then we have a very safe and successful mission.' So I said, 'We really need to say thank you to these folks,'" he said.

Pilot Charles "Scorch" Hobaugh extended Mastraccio's idea to the local community.

"[I'm] trying to give back to some of the organizations that do great things, for example, the local police department, town, the city, the military units I have been affiliated with or my friends are now affiliated with, just to give them a little payback," said Hobaugh. "It's a reward for them for all the hard work and effort they do and the personal contact I have with them."

Commander Kelly's choices were a bit more random.

"I had a kid ask from some school in New Zealand, a kid I met one time, if I would fly his New Zealand striped, really cool looking blazer from his school, but I said it was too big. So what I did [fly] was the crest. What else did I fly? A patch from a friend of mine's squadron, who is the CO of the X-31 at China Lake," Kelly shared.

Spacewalker Dr. Dave Williams, M.D., who is flying on behalf of the Canadian Space Agency, chose items that represent his country and his mission.

"Rick Hansen is a Canadian who has cycled around the world in a wheelchair, believe it or not, and he is a paraplegic. I am flying one of his gloves in space, kind of recognizing that most people, when [they] think about wheelchairing all the way around the world, immediately would say 'That's impossible. You can't actually do that.' Part of flying in space is to demonstrate that making the impossible possible is something that we do in the space program," said Williams.

"On a personal front, my wife is a pilot with Air Canada, and she flies A320 aircraft, she's a captain on those. So I am going to be flying her captain's wings in space. That way when she's flying in the A320 she can say 'My wings have gone faster than Mach 25.'"

"And I asked my kids, what would you want me to take in space as a memento for you and they kind of thought about it a little bit and in the end they came up with silver medallions that we have, which we take our patch and make a medallion from it, because they wanted something that represented the whole mission and the crew itself. I think it's going to be really exciting to do that for them."

The STS-118 Official Flight Kit Manifest

The following is the STS-118 Official Flight Kit manifest, as provided by NASA. Inventory numbers that are missing indicate items that were removed prior to launch.

No.   Description   Sponsor/Purpose
  1. 650 STS-118 Crew Patches
  2. 5 Expedition 15 Patches
  Agency Presentation
2.   600 Small United States Flags   Agency Presentation
3.   4 Sets U.S. States & Territories Flags   Agency Presentation
4.   3 Sets United Nations Members Flags   Agency Presentation
  1. 20 Small Texas Flags
  2. 10 Texas Lapel Pins
  3. 5 Small JSC Medallions
  4. 5 Small NASA Flags
  5. 5 NASA Patches
  6. 5 U.S. - Canada Lapel Pins
  7. 1 Silver Shuttle Pendant
  Agency Presentation
6.   Small Flags of the Following States and Country:
  1. 10 New Jersey
  2. 2 Ohio
  3. 2 Maine
  4. 2 Minnesota
  5. 20 California
  6. 5 Connecticut
  7. 20 Idaho
  8. 20 Canada
  9. 146 Canada
  10. 51 Canadian Provinces
  Agency Presentation
7.   20 Each Small Military Flags:
  1. U.S. Air Force
  2. U.S. Army
  3. U.S. Coast Guard
  4. U.S. Marine Corps
  5. U.S. Navy
  Agency Presentation
  1. 300 Small United States Flags
  2. 2 Sets Small State & Territory Flags
  3. 8.5"x11" Paper Template
  Agency Education Office Presentation
  1. 10 Small United States Flags
  2. 10 Small Alabama State Flags
  Marshall Space Flight Center Presentation
  1. 10 Small Louisiana State Flags
  2. 10 Small Mississippi State Flags
  3. 5 Small NASA Flags
  4. 5 Small United States Flags
  Stennis Space Center Presentation
11.   200 Silver Snoopy Pins   Space Flight Awareness Presentation
12.   25 EVA Patches   Agency Presentation
13.   19 Center Operations Patches   Agency Presentation
  1. 10 STS-118 Crew Patches
  2. 25 Small U.S. Flags
  3. 10 DoD Space Test Program Patches
  DoD Presentation
15.   15 STS-118 Crew Patches   United Space Alliance Presentation
16.   Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Badge   Agency Presentation
  1. 25 Constellation Patches
  2. 100 Constellation Pins (55 Constellation, 15 Orion, 15 EVA, 15 Ares)
  Agency Presentation
18.   1 Electromagnetic Compatibility Society (EMC) Pin   Agency Presentation
Items 19 through 90 are manifested at the request of the STS-118 crewmembers.
19.   Black and Gold Patch   New Plymouth Boys High School, New Zealand
20.   Gray T-Shirt with Logo   Panzone's Pizzeria, Beach Haven, NJ
21.   White and Blue Unit Patch   Air Force Jr. Reserve Officer Training Corp., Warner Robbins, GA
22.   Blue Sailing Pennant   Clear Lake Yacht Club, Clear Lake, TX
23.   White T-Shirt with Logo   Fishlips Waterfront Bar and Grill, Cape Canaveral, FL
24.   White and Blue Patch   National Outdoor Leadership School, Lander, WY
25.   VX-31 Black and Red Patch   Test and Evaluation Squadron, China Lake, CA
26.   Red, White and Blue Patch   Jefferson County Police Dept., Beaumont, TX
27.   Maroon Baseball Cap   Victory Lakes Intermediate School, League City, TX
28.   Black and Gold VMET-401 Patch   Marine Adversaries VMET-401, Yuma, AZ
29.   Blue and Black Patch   Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, AZ
30.   Rockledge Youth Football 2004 Medallion   Rockledge Youth Football League, Titusville, FL
31.   Blue and Red Patch   League City Police Department, League City, TX
32.   White and Blue Patch   City of Kemah, Kemah, TX
33.   3'x5' United States Flag   Marine Air Group 14, Yuma, AZ
34.   3'x5' United States Flag   Marine Air Group 31, Yuma, AZ
35.   Gold Volleyball   Absolute Volleyball Academy, League City, TX
36.   32"x52" Multi-Colored Banner   Beaumont Unified School District, Beaumont, CA
37.   3"x5" White and Blue Decal   California State University Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
38.   4.5"x2" Gray Elephant Mascot   California State University Chemistry Department, Fullerton, CA
39.   Bronze Medallion   University of California Davis, College of Letters and Science, Davis, CA
40.   18"x24" Blue, White and Gold Banner   University of California Davis, Chemistry Department, Davis, CA
41.   2"x1" Tan and Blue Mascot   University of California Irvine, Chemistry Dept, Irvine, CA
42.   Black and White Patch   McKinley Children's School, San Dimas, CA
43.   8.5"x18" Maroon and Gold Banner   Sacred Heart High School, Waterbury, CT
44.   4"x6" U.S. Flag   Hayden Switch Incorporated, Waterbury, CT
45.   4"x6" U.S. Flag   Farmington Elementary School, Culpepper, VA
46.   5"x11" Blue and White Banner   Gateway Community College, Waterbury, CT
47.   6"x15" Maroon and White Banner   Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
48.   Pewter Medallion   Kennedy High School, Waterbury, CT
49.   8.5"x11" School Photo   Westbrook Intermediate School, Friendswood, TX
50.   Red, White and Blue T-Shirt   Goforth Elementary School, League City, TX
51.   White and Blue Patch   Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Ottawa, Ontario
52.   White and Red Patch   Centre for Minimal Access Surgery, Hamilton, Ontario
53.   Black Patch with Crest   Canadian Coastguard, Ottawa, Ontario
54.   4"x6" White and Orange Flag   City of Quebec, Quebec City, Quebec
55.   White, Black and Blue Patch   Students on Ice, Gatineau, Quebec
56.   Red and White Patch   McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
57.   Black, Blue and Red Patch   Swim Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
58.   Red and White Patch   McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
59.   Black, White and Green Crest   University of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
60.   Tan Leather Cycling Glove   The Rick Hansen Foundation, Vancouver, British Columbia
61.   White, Gold and Red Medal with Ribbon   Governor General Office of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
62.   Bronze Medallion with White Ribbon   Canadian Special Olympics, Toronto, Canada
Items 63 through 72 omitted until post-flight at the personal request of STS-118 crewmember Barbara Morgan.
63.   White and Red Patch   Onizuka Space Center, Kailua-Kona, HI
64.   White and Blue Baseball Cap   Christa McAuliffe Center, Framingham, MA
65.   Gold and Blue Lapel Pin   Idaho Education Association, Boise, ID
66.   Red, White and Purple Patch   U.S. Forestry Service, McCall, ID
67.   Blue and Yellow Patch   National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston, VA
68.   Moon, Stars and Shuttle Patch   Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Alexandria, VA
69.   Orange and White Decal   Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
70.   Teacher in Space Patch   National Science Teachers Assoc., Arlington, VA
71.   Teacher in Space Patch   National Education Association, Washington, DC
72.   Teacher in Space Patch   International Technology Educators Association, Reston, VA
73.   Pewter Medallion   Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, VA
74.   Red, Black and Purple Decal   NASA JSC Virtual Reality Lab, Houston, TX
75.   Moon, Stars and Shuttle Patch   Chattanooga Challenger Learning Center, Chattanooga, TN
76.   Blue and Gold Lapel Pin   Royal College of Midwives, London, England
77.   Silver Medallion   Royal Canadian Mint, Ottawa, Ontario
78.   White, Gold and Red Lapel Pin   Canadian Polar Commission, Ottawa, Canada
79.   3'x5' Red, White and Blue Flag   City of League City, League City, TX
80.   Red and Silver Baseball Cap   Toro's Baseball Team, League City, TX
81.   Blue and Orange Baseball Cap   California State University Fullerton Athletic Department, Fullerton, CA
82.   Gold, Red, White and Black Medallion   Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, VA
83.   Gold Navy Aviator Wings   Agency Presentation
84.   Gold, Black, Red and White Surgeon's Wings   Agency Presentation
85.   Silver Air Crewman Wings   Agency Presentation
86.   Gold Astronaut Pin   Agency Presentation
87.   Gold Astronaut Pin   Agency Presentation
88.   Gold Astronaut Pin   Agency Presentation
89.   Gold Astronaut Pin   Agency Presentation
90.   Gold Astronaut Pin   Agency Presentation
Items 91 through 95 are manifested at the request of the STS-118 payload customers.
  1. 300 Sheets of Bookmarks
  2. 50 STS-118 Patches
  Space Shuttle Program Presentation
  1. 151 ISS 13A.1 Patches
  2. 50 ISS 13A.1 Lapel Pins
  ISS Customer Presentation
  1. 150 SPEGIS Decals
  2. 8 CCM-A Patches
  ISS Utilization Payload Presentation
94.   100 Small United States Flags   ISS DoD Customer Presentation
95.   4 NZSA Patches   ISS Customer Presentation
96.   1 Baseball   Agency Presentation

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