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November 7, 1996

Eileen Hawley
Johnson Space Center

Release: J96-33

Texas Tech University Dedicates Laboratories to Gemini Astronaut Charles A. Bassett II

Gemini-era astronaut Charles A. Bassett II will be honored for his contributions to space technology when Texas Tech University dedicates an electrical engineering research laboratory to him on Friday.

The electrical engineering research annex that will bear Bassett’s name has been used by faculty and graduate students for more than 15 years, with the dedication to Bassett recently approved by the Texas Tech Board of Regents. The dedication ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. at the northwest end of the electrical engineering annex. The laboratory will support studies in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Texas Tech, where Bassett earned his undergraduate degree in 1960.

"This is a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to pursuing the dream of space flight," said NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin. "It is gratifying to know that the laboratory bearing his name will help to encourage today’s students to achieve their own personal goals."

Bassett was selected as an astronaut in October 1963. He was training as a member of the Gemini 9 crew along with Elliot M. See, Jr. in February 1966 when the two men died in a T-38 training jet accident in St. Louis, MO. The Gemini 9 mission demonstrated the rendezvous and space walk techniques that were subsequently used during the successful Apollo lunar missions.

"This is a tremendous honor and a generous remembrance of Charlie’s life and accomplishments," said George W. S. Abbey, director of the Johnson Space Center where Bassett trained. "We share the pride that Charlie’s family feels with this dedication of the Charles A. Bassett Laboratories. This dedication reflects Charlie’s own strong beliefs in the value of education and perseverance."

NASA Astronaut Rick Husband, also a Texas Tech engineering graduate, will speak at the dedication ceremony along with Texas Tech University Chancellor John T. Montford, President Donald R. Haragan, Regent Edward Whitacre, Interim Executive Vice President and Provost John Burns, Dean Jorge Aunon and electrical engineering Chair Jon Bredeson.


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