Kathy Barnstorff

Megan Steele or Toni Williams
Virginia Air & Space Center
757-727-0900, ext. 730 or 705 or
RELEASE : 12-006
NASA Astronaut to Honor Black History at Va. Air & Space Center
HAMPTON, Va. -- Astronaut and two-time space shuttle veteran Benjamin Alvin "Al" Drew will celebrate Black History Month at Hampton's Virginia Air & Space Center (VASC), Sat., Feb. 11, along with a United States Air Force pilot, members of an historic air squadron and local racecar drivers.

Drew, a Washington, D.C. native who flew combat missions over Panama, the Persian Gulf and Northern Iraq, was a NASA mission specialist on two space shuttles in 2007 and 2011. He will be joined by Langley Air Force Base pilot Paul "Loco" Lopez, World War II members of the Tidewater Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, and drivers from Langley Speedway.

The "Rockets to Racecars: the Science of Flight and Racing" event will feature hands-on activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the VASC, including demonstrations about how the science of flight and racing intersect, as well as the chance to chat with the aerospace stars.

Activities Include:
Meet and greet NASA Astronaut Al Drew
Test Bernoulli's Law
Compare space shuttle tires with other kinds of tires
Build your own small-scale wind tunnel
Experiment with the effects of drag
Explore the mysteries of flight with a live science demonstration
Compare the science of flight and racing
IMAX performances of "Hubble 3D" -- 11 a.m. and 12 p.m.
"Rockets to Racecars" not only looks at how many of the same principles that apply to flight apply to automobile racing, such as aerodynamics, drag and propulsion, but also how NASA technology has been used to advance race car technology, including improving safety and driver health.

Astronaut Al Drew started out flying an aircraft probably least like a racecar -- a helicopter. After he flew combat chopper missions, Drew returned to flight training, earning his jet rating, then becoming a test pilot at the United States Naval Test Pilot School. He was selected as a NASA mission specialist in July, 2000. Drew has logged more than 612 hours in space on board the shuttle Endeavour during STS-118 in 2007 and on Discovery's last mission, STS-133, in February and March of last year.

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