http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19713770/ After more than two decades of waiting, NASA's first official educator astronaut is ready to fly. Barbara Morgan, who first joined NASA's spaceflyer ranks 22 years ago during the agency's Teacher in Space program, is due to launch Aug. 7 with six STS-118 crewmates aboard the shuttle Endeavour on a construction mission to the international space station. NASA first selected Morgan in 1985, when the agency announced she would serve as the backup spaceflyer to fellow schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe as part of the agency's Teacher in Space program. McAuliffe and her six shuttle crewmates were tragically killed during the 1986 Challenger accident, after which Morgan performed various activities and tasks in McAuliffe's stead as her Teacher in Space Designee before returning to teach elementary school in McCall, Idaho. "Christa was, is, and always will be our 'Teacher in Space,' our first teacher to fly," Morgan said in a NASA interview, adding that showing schoolchildren how adults recover from tragedies such as the Challenger and Columbia accidents has kept her committed to human spaceflight. Morgan returned to NASA in 1998, this time as a full-fledged educator astronaut and was assigned to Endeavour's STS-118 mission in 2002.