CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A case of the butterflies has struck Edward and Grace Corrigan, anxious parents who can only watch and wait as their daughter, Christa McAuliffe, prepares to become the first private citizen in space.
'We haven't been at all nervous through this whole thing,' Edward Corrigan said Friday. 'We've enjoyed it because Christa has enjoyed it so much. But we're getting a little bit of trepidation as we get closer and closer.'
McAuliffe, the New Hampshire school teacher whose presence has helped refocus America's attention on the space program, is to blast off Sunday with six crewmates aboard the shuttle Challenger.
The Corrigans traveled from Framingham, Mass., and visited the Kennedy Space Center Friday. They ate dinner with the astronauts and said the entire crew -- particularly their daughter -- is relaxed but eager.
'She is just bubbling all over,' Mrs. Corrigan said.
Said Corrigan, wearing a NASA souvenir button bearing a photograph of his daughter, 'She's just anxious to go.'
McAuliffe, 37, a social studies teacher at Concord High School, was selected from more than 11,000 applicants to be the first teacher in space. She plans to teach two lessons from space that will be broadcast to classrooms nationwide by the Public Broadcasting System.
The Corrigans will view the launch from the roof of the KSC launch control center with their son-in-law and two grandchildren.
Also on hand will be Barbara Morgan, an Idaho elementary school teacher selected as backup to McAuliffe. Morgan has gone through the entire program, preparing for launch along with the rest of the crew.
Morgan admitted she is disappointed not to go into space but is 'thrilled for Christa.'
'I've had such a wonderful experience here learning all about NASA, I feel that I'm part of the crew,' Morgan said. 'We (teachers and students) are all going to feel we're with Christa when she goes up.'