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August 1, 1997

Debbie Rahn
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1639)

Eileen Hawley
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: 97-167

Akers to Return to U.S. Air Force

Astronaut Tom Akers (Col., USAF) a four-time Shuttle veteran and currently Assistant Director (Technical) for the Johnson Space Center, has returned to the Air Force after a 10-year career with NASA.

Akers has been named Commander of the U.S. Air Force ROTC Detachment 442 at the University of Missouri, Rolla. He is an alumnus of the University, graduating in 1975 with a master of science degree in applied mathematics.

"Tom's contributions to the astronaut office and to the Johnson Space Center have been invaluable," said David C. Leestma, director of Flight Crew Operations. "We will miss him from both a personal and professional standpoint."

Selected as an astronaut in 1987, Akers has accumulated more than 800 hours of space flight, including 29 hours performing extravehicular activities, or spacewalks. His first flight was on board Discovery for STS-41 in October 1990. On his second flight -- STS-49 in May 1992 -- Akers performed two spacewalks, including a three-person spacewalk to rescue the stranded Intelsat VI satellite. He flew next on STS-61 in December 1993 as a spacewalking crew member on the first mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. His most recent flight on board Atlantis, was the fourth Shuttle-Mir mission, STS-79 in September 1996. Following STS-79, Akers joined the Center Director's staff.

"I feel very privileged to have been a member of the NASA team for the past 10 years," Akers said. "I know I will miss it, especially all the great people I've had the pleasure of working with."

For complete biographical information on Akers, or any astronaut, see the NASA Internet biography home page at URL:

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/

 

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