- Press Release
- Jan 28, 2023
Astronaut Barbara Morgan’s Dream of Space Flight Commemorated at Epcot
Walt Disney World today hosted the first official appearance of the entire crew of NASA space shuttle mission STS-118 following their return to Earth on Aug. 21. The day was dedicated to honoring the Endeavour crew and recognizing the inspirational achievement of teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan. ADVERTISEMENT
Disney’s Epcot and Magic Kingdom theme parks were the backdrop as cheering park guests and school children interacted with the astronauts and witnessed history in the making. One highlight, fittingly at the Epcot attraction Mission: SPACE presented by HP, paid tribute to the STS-118 crew – Commander Scott Kelly, Pilot Charles Hobaugh and mission specialists Tracy Caldwell, Richard Mastracchio, Dave Williams, Barbara Morgan and Alvin Drew Jr.
With a countdown of “three … two … one … liftoff!” Morgan, back from her first space mission, unveiled a new addition to the Mission: SPACE attraction – a space-themed plaque featuring a quote from her reading, “Reach for your dreams . . . the sky is no limit.” Morgan’s inspirational message permanently joins sentiments from other visionaries such as Neil Armstrong, John F. Kennedy, Carl Sagan, Charles Lindbergh, Stephen Hawking and Galileo.
Morgan was teacher in space Christa McAuliffe’s back-up for the 1986 Challenger mission. Their quotes are displayed side-by-side at the Mission: SPACE attraction – an enduring reminder of their friendship and each woman’s dedication to teaching and inspiring students – for millions of future Epcot guests to see.
“This event honors all of us teachers by helping children dream,” said Barbara Morgan. Following the plaque dedication and crew recognition ceremony the astronauts took part in a special education session with local students at Epcot’s Base21 Siemens VIP Center. Participants in the session were Oak Ridge High School Aviation and Aerospace Academy Magnet Program students, Osceola High School Aviation Academy students and Orlando area fourth and fifth grade students invited by Siemens, some of whom are involved in the Siemens Science Days program.
The session with students was broadcast live via the NASA and Walt Disney World Web sites. A replay of the one-hour webcast is available at www.disneyworld.com/NASA until Sept. 25.
Later in the day, the astronauts were to answer questions from Epcot guests at the Mission: SPACE attraction, then move on to Magic Kingdom to take part in a procession down Main Street, U.S.A., greet guests and serve as Honorary Grand Marshals of the afternoon parade.