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For release: 05/18/04
Release #: 04-145  

NASA's futuristic starship 2040 to visit Great Meadow, The Plains, Va., May 22, during world's largest model rocket competition

NASA's futuristic space transportation exhibit – Starship 2040 – will visit The Plains, Va., Saturday, May 22, for the world's largest amateur rocket competition. The NASA-sponsored Team America Rocketry Challenge will be held at the Great Meadow Racetrack, where Starship 2040 will be open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT.


NASA's futuristic Starship 2040 — a traveling space transportation exhibit that gives visitors a look at space flight technology as it might exist 40 years from now — will visit Great Meadow, The Plains, Va., Saturday, May 22, for the second annual Team Rocketry Challenge, the world's largest model rocket contest.

Starship 2040 will offer visitors a glimpse into a very possible future — one in which humans will travel and work in space as safely, affordably and routinely as we now navigate the skies. The exhibit will be open May 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT. The exhibit is handicapped accessible and admission is free.

“Young people, like those involved in Team America Rocketry Challenge, will be needed for future NASA missions," said Jim Pruitt, manager of the Marshall Education Programs Department. "Every NASA mission requires sharp minds, strength of purpose and the drive to take on new challenges. Preparing young people for the challenges ahead is important to fulfilling the Vision for Space Exploration."

"This exhibit ties to the Vision for Space Exploration," said John Dumoulin, exhibits manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., which manages the exhibit. "We want to share this exciting plan with America, and Starship 2040 is one way to do that."

The challenge, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry, will feature high school and middle school students from 31 states. The students will be competing for a grand prize pool of more than $60,000 cash and savings bonds to be shared by the top 10 teams.

Expected at the event are Craig Steidle, NASA Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems, NASA Headquarters, Washington; Dr. Adena Loston, NASA Associate Administrator for Education, Washington; Patricia Grace Smith, Federal Aviation Administration's Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, Washington; and former NASA engineer and author Homer Hickam Jr., Huntsville, Ala., whose experiences inspired the book, "Rocket Boys," and the movie, "October Sky."

Astronauts Jay Apt and Charlie Walker also will attend the event. Apt, who flew on the Space Shuttle missions STS-37 in 1991, STS-47 in 1992 and STS-59 in 1994, has logged more than 847 hours, or 35 days, in space, including two space walks, and has flown around the Earth 562 times. Walker, a payload specialist, was a crew member on Shuttle missions 41-D, 51-D, and 61-B, accumulating 20 days in space.

For more information about NASA's Starship 2040 exhibit on the Internet, visit:

http://www.starship2040.com

For more information about the Vision for Space Exploration visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/missions/solarsystem/explore_main.html

For more information about NASA education programs visit:

http://education.nasa.gov

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