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Kathy Barnstorff
757-864-9886/344-8511 (mobile)

RELEASE : 06-045
NASA Explorers to Salute Early Settlers in the Big Apple

A modern-day explorer who made his discoveries by rocket ship is saluting some of his pioneering predecessors, the first English colonists, who traveled by wooden ships almost 400 years ago.

Retired NASA Astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz will be in New York City Tuesday, June 27, as part of the Godspeed Sail, the kick-off event for an 18-month long commemoration recognizing the first permanent English settlement in the United States at Jamestown, Va. in 1607. He plans to share some of his experiences and spirit of exploration with New York visitors.

Chang-Diaz is a veteran of seven space flights over 16 years on board four different Shuttle orbiters. The first Latino NASA astronaut in space, he has logged more than 1,600 hours in space, including 19 hours and 31 minutes in three spacewalks. His specialty is plasma rocket research. Among other projects Chang-Diaz has led is a plasma propulsion program for possible use for future human missions to Mars.

Franklin Chang-Diaz will be available for interviews following the Godspeed Sail's opening ceremony at 11 a.m. on June 27 at the South Street Seaport Museum's Pier 16 in lower Manhattan. Media interested in covering the event or arranging an interview can contact Kathy Barnstorff at 757-344-8511. Video of Chang-Diaz in space is available on request.

NASA has teamed with Jamestown 2007 in a number of events to promote exploration - past and present. NASA has an interactive exhibit that will be set up near a newly-built replica of the Godspeed, the ship that brought the first colonists to the New World. The Godspeed "floating museum" will be docked at the South Street Seaport Pier 16 over the 4th of July holiday, from June 27-July 6.

On the pier will be the NASA tent and the rest of the "Landing Party Festival," a 40,000 square-foot area featuring live music, family entertainment, and historical displays that are free to the public. NASA's exhibit gives visitors the chance to make a personalized "Space Postcard;" take photographs as an astronaut or settler; and win prizes for participating in a NASA trivia game. The exhibit highlights the connections between the adventurous men and women who settled in Virginia almost 400 years ago and NASA's plans to explore space and establish a presence on other worlds.

NASA's Vision for Space Exploration is working to return humans to the moon and develop the tools needed to further explore Earth, the moon, Mars and beyond. The road to discovery, much like the path to Jamestown, involves searching for water, accommodating human needs, developing new forms of transportation and establishing a settlement or space colony.

The New York stop is the fourth of six major port calls for the Godspeed and its landing party along the East Coast. The seventeenth century replica has already sailed to Alexandria, Va., Baltimore and Philadelphia and will head to Boston and Newport, R.I.

For information about NASA research and exploration, visit:

For information about Jamestown 2007 events, visit:


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