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Oct. 12, 1999

Michael Mewhinney

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

(Phone: 650/604-3937, 650/604-9000) mmewhinney@mail.arc.nasa.gov


NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: 99-62ARC

APOLLO 13 ASTRONAUT JIM LOVELL, FORMER OAKLAND RAIDER GEORGE ATKINSON TO VISIT NASA AMES RESEARCH CENTER

Apollo 13 Astronaut Capt. James Lovell, Jr., and George Atkinson, former defensive back for the Oakland Raiders, will visit NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, on Thursday, Oct. 14. Both will be available for questions during a press conference starting at 12 noon in Bldg. N-218, Room 104.

Lovell and Atkinson's visit highlights Ames' Safety Day activities and its festive Fourth Annual 1999 Chili Cook-Off, an outdoor contest for employees to demonstrate their culinary talents by creating a tasty recipe for chili. Contest winners will receive trophies. Both Lovell and Atkinson are scheduled to address the crowd; Atkinson at 1 p.m., and Lovell at 1:40 p.m. (PDT).

"We're delighted to have both Jim Lovell and George Atkinson visit NASA Ames and are looking forward to hearing what these two American 'superstars' have to say," said Bob Navarro, Chief, Safety and Mission Assurance Division.

Lovell was selected for NASA's astronaut program in 1962 and held various commands in the Gemini Mission Program. He later served as command module pilot and navigator for the epic six-day journey on Apollo 8, the first human-crewed voyage to the Moon. He then served as backup commander to Neil Armstrong for the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. Lovell's fourth and final flight was on the perilous Apollo 13 mission in 1970, which was dramatized in the 1995 film "Apollo 13," starring Tom Hanks. Lovell left NASA in 1973, and today is the president of Lovell Communications, a business devoted to disseminating information about the U.S. space program. In 1998, Lovell appeared in Hanks' HBO documentary, "From the Earth to the Moon."

During his 11 years with the Oakland Raiders, Atkinson played in three Pro Bowls, nine championship games and one Super Bowl. He set the National Football League (NFL) record for most punt return yardage (205 yards) in a single game and was nominated for NFL Man of the Year in 1972. In 1980, Atkinson was inducted into the Morris Brown College Hall of Fame in Atlanta, GA, the Savannah Georgia Hall of Fame in 1993, the California Black Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 1997. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Character Counts Coalition, a consortium of educational and youth service providers.

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