Christa McAuliffe. Those two words are enough to dampen a lot of enthusiasm about sending teachers into space. Especially now, after two more words — “Columbia disaster” — have been added to the country’s mental data bank of space travel. Yet more than 7,300 teachers were willing to be nominated for the new Educator Astronaut Program that NASA is piloting, 17 years after McAuliffe died aboard the space shuttle Challenger. As the program’s Wednesday application deadline approaches, at least 151 teachers from Washington state have been nominated to be an Educator Astronaut.