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Kelly Humphries
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Phone: 281/483-5111

RELEASE : J05-046
NASA Thanks East Texas by Sharing Shuttle Return to Flight
NASA will show its appreciation to the people of East Texas who helped with the Space Shuttle Columbia recovery effort through a series of events Nov. 6-10 in the communities that hosted recovery teams. The invitations are open to the entire communities.

NASA leaders and astronauts will visit Hemphill, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Palestine and Corsicana. They will work with local community leaders to recognize the efforts that provided the crucial first-response to the Feb. 1, 2003 accident and those who supported the three-month recovery of remains of all Columbia crew members and 80,000 pieces of shuttle debris.

"This is our opportunity to return to these communities and let them know that the work that they did continues to help NASA," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for space operations. "The launch and safe return this summer of the Discovery crew would not have been possible without the incredible dedication of the people of East Texas. The lessons we learned from the debris they collected and the support they provided were instrumental to a safe Return to Flight and a boost to our spirit of exploration."

Speakers will include community leaders, NASA officials who supported the recovery effort, and astronauts. A barbecue dinner will be served. The celebration schedule includes:

  • Hemphill: 2-5 p.m., Nov. 6, VFW Hall.
  • Nacogdoches: 5:30-8:30 p.m., Nov. 7, Nacogdoches County Exposition Center.
  • Lufkin: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 8, George H. Henderson Jr. Expo Center.
  • Palestine: 5-8 p.m., Nov. 9, Roping & Riding Arena.
  • Corsicana: 5:30-8:30 p.m., Nov. 10, Navarro County College, Cook Center.
For more information about NASA programs on the Internet, visit:

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