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April 21, 1997

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

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

Release: H97-76

Apt Retires From Astronaut Corps

Four-time Shuttle astronaut Jay Apt will leave NASA in late May to become director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA.

"The astronaut office will miss Jay's dedication and spirit," said David C. Leestma, director of Flight Crew Operations. "I am sure he will use this new position to continue his efforts to educate and inspire young people to excel."

Apt first flew on STS-37 on Atlantis in 1991, conducting two spacewalks, including one unscheduled EVA to deploy manually the antenna on the Gamma Ray Observatory spacecraft. He flew twice on Endeavour, during STS-47 in 1992 for the Spacelab-J mission, and again for STS-59, the first flight of the Space Radar Laboratory in1994. Most recently, Apt flew aboard Atlantis on STS-79, the fourth Shuttle-Mir docking mission, in 1996.

"Every minute that I've been a part of the space exploration program has been fascinating" said Apt. "I am delighted to have had the opportunity to fly around our planet hundreds of times, and now it is time to give something back to the people who sent me there. I am thrilled by the chance to return to Pittsburgh and lead one of the best museums in America into the next century. Providing an exciting environment for both families and scientists to learn about this planet is going to be the most challenging and interesting job I can imagine doing."

For complete biographical information on Apt and other astronauts, see the NASA Internet astronaut biography home page at address:


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