Chris Rink
757-864-6786, 757-344-7711
RELEASE : 11-079
NASA Engineer Honored for Assisting Chilean Miner Rescue
HAMPTON, Va. -- An engineer based at NASA's Langley Research Center here, who provided technical expertise to help the miners trapped underground in Chile last year, was part of a team that received the National Security and International Affairs Medal from the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service.

Clinton Cragg, a principal engineer with NASA's Engineering and Safety Center, located at NASA Langley, was recognized at the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals gala, or Sammies, in Washington on Sept. 15. Cragg, along with other NASA engineers, provided design recommendations for the rescue capsule.

"We are very proud of the NASA team for its contribution that earned this prestigious award," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "The help provided to the Chilean government is a testament to the research and technology development we do at NASA. This was a practical example of how science and engineering for the space program has direct benefits to people on Earth."

After the Chilean government requested technical advice in August 2010, the NASA team spent three days at the rescue site in Copiapo, Chile. Cragg was joined by team leader Michael Duncan, former deputy chief medical officer at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston; J.D. Polk, also a medical doctor, and Albert Holland.

Duncan works in the Office of International and Interagency Relations at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Polk is the chief of the Space Medicine Division at Johnson. Holland is a senior operational psychologist with the NASA Behavioral Health and Performance Group at Johnson. As part of the rescue operation, they offered advice on medical, nutritional and behavioral health issues.

More than 400 nominations were submitted for the 2011 medals. A committee of leaders in government, academia, the private sector, media and philanthropy selected the winners. The gala was hosted by Bob Schieffer, CBS News chief, Washington correspondent and moderator of "Face the Nation."

For more information about NASA's participation in the mine rescue, visit:

For more information about Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, visit:

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