Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: The same woman who was originally scheduled to be part of the Challenger shuttle crew in 1986 was also bumped off the ill-fated Columbia mission in 2003.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2003]
Origins: Every prominent tragedy is followed by examination of "near-misses," as those who avoided serious harm reflect on how easily they might have also have become victims, and those who lost friends or loved ones lament that only a slightly different set of circumstances might have prevented their losses. Any number of small quirks of fate — a sudden illness, an unexpected work assignment, a missed airline flight — can put someone in harm's way or remove him from a scene of
In 1986, a small-town social studies teacher named Christa McAuliffe captured the hearts of the world when she became, in the words of then-vice president
Morgan continued to work with NASA's Education Division, and when (then) NASA chief Dan Golden announced the resumption of the Educator Astronaut program (as it is now called) in January 1998, the space agency decided to stick with Morgan and selected her as an astronaut candidate to complete full training at Houston's Johnson Space Center beginning in August 1998. In December 2002, NASA announced Morgan had been assigned as a crewmember on a November 2003 Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station, but her hopes were dashed a second time when —
Although Barbara Morgan was far closer to two horrible incidents that any of us would ever care to be, in neither unfortunate case did she avoid death only through having been "bumped" off a shuttle flight. She was Christa McAuliffe's backup in January 1986 and would have flown on Challenger only had McAuliffe been unable to undertake the mission, a circumstance that did not occur. Nor was not designated to be part of the Columbia crew for its January 2003 mission, either as a primary or a backup member; her first mission assignment was to be a crewmember on a November 2003 shuttle flight to the International Space Station.
Last updated: 30 September 2007
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