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For Release: April 16, 1996

Catherine Watson
Phone: (804) 864-6122

Release No. 96-026

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Hubble Astronaut Visits Hampton Roads to Discuss Historic Repair Mission

Quick Look: Astronaut Kathryn Thornton will visit Hampton Roads April 17-18 to discuss her part in the Hubble Space Telescope repair mission (STS-61). On April 18 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. Thornton will speak to local middle school students at the Virginia Air and Space Center , Hampton. Thornton also will be available for interviews on Thursday, April 18 from 1:15 - 1:50 p.m. at the NASA Langley H.J.E. Reid Conference Center, Hampton. Thornton received a master's degree and a doctorate in physics from the University of Virginia in 1977 and 1979, respectively.

Astronaut Kathryn Thornton will visit Hampton Roads April 17-18 to discuss her part in the Hubble Space Telescope repair mission (STS-61). During the 11-day flight in December 1993, the Hubble Space Telescope was captured and restored to full capacity during a record five spacewalks by four astronauts. Hubble has provided remarkable new views of the universe, revolutionized astronomy, and engaged the interest and imagination of the public more than any other space science satellite.

During her visit to Hampton Roads, Thornton will discuss how she and three other astronauts endured long hours of challenging spacewalks to repair and upgrade the telescope. Thornton and the other members of the Hubble Recovery Team were awarded the 1993 Collier Trophy, the most prestigious aeronautical award in the U.S., for their leadership and courage, and for renewing public faith in America's space program

Thornton will speak to local middle school students at the Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton on April 18 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. Thornton will share video and photographs taken during the Hubble repair mission. At 2 p.m., Thornton will speak at the NASA Langley H.J.E. Reid Conference Center. After her presentation, Thornton will present several NASA Langley employees with space-related awards.

Thornton received a master's degree and a doctorate in physics from the University of Virginia in 1977 and 1979, respectively. Thornton was selected as an astronaut in May 1984. A veteran of four space flights (STS-33 in 1989, STS-49 in 1992, STS-61 in 1993, and STS-73 in 1995), Thornton has logged nearly 600 hours in space, including more than 21 hours of spacewalks.

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