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February 3, 1999

Ed Campion
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Phone: 281/483-5111


Astronaut Thomas to Receive Kazakhstan Friendship Award

NASA Astronaut Andrew S. W. Thomas, Ph.D., the seventh and final American to serve as a crewmember aboard Russia's Mir Space Station, will receive the high state award of Kazakhstan -- order "Dostyk" ("Friendship") -- at a noon ceremony at the Johnson Space Center on Thursday, February 4, 1999.

The award ceremony will take place in front of a full-sized mockup of the International Space Station, located in the Bldg. 9 Mockup and Integration Laboratory. The award will be presented by Bolat K. Nurgaliyev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States.

On November 11, 1998, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a decree awarding each of the members of the Mir crew Kazakhstan's high state order for their exceptional courage and excellent work. The state award is being given to Thomas in recognition of his research efforts aboard the Mir last year which included a number of important Kazakhstan scientific research projects, and also in recognition of the significant international cooperation in peaceful research in space which took place during the Shuttle-Mir program.

Thomas arrived on the Mir in late January 1998 and spent 4 ½ months aboard the orbiting Russian facility before returning home aboard Shuttle Discovery at the end of the STS-91 mission on June 12, 1998.

News media wishing to participate in this photo opportunity should contact the JSC newsroom by 10 a.m. Thursday to arrange for press accreditation.


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