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July 23, 2008

David E. Steitz
Headquarters, Washington

Kathy Barnstorff
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

Biggest Annual U.S. Air Show to Salute NASA's 50th Anniversary

WASHINGTON - NASA's 50th anniversary celebration continues this summer with special recognition at EAA AirVenture 2008, the United States' biggest annual air show, held in Oshkosh, Wis., July 28 - Aug. 3.

One of the Experimental Aircraft Association activities commemorating five decades of NASA's aerospace achievements will be an appearance by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

"I'm looking forward to being part of the world of flight that comes together each year at Oshkosh," said Griffin. "EAA has long been a supporter of NASA, as we have a shared passion for innovation and flight."

Griffin's passion for flight is not just job-related. He's a pilot, who holds a flight instructor certificate with instrument and multiengine ratings, and the co-owner of a small aircraft.

Griffin is scheduled to speak on Tuesday, July 29, at 11:30 a.m. CDT, in Forum Pavilion 6 on the grounds of Wittman Regional Airport, in Oshkosh.

Visitors to EAA AirVenture also will be able to hear from other current and former NASA employees in a number of locations during the seven-day event. NASA will have a special anniversary display in the EAA AirVenture Museum and a traveling exhibit parked near Exhibits Hangar "E."

"NASA is proud to be able to display unique artifacts depicting the history of NASA and U.S. spaceflight in the EAA AirVenture Museum," said Jim Hull, NASA exhibit and artifact manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We will not only have objects from the space program, but also from NASA aeronautics research that visitors can enjoy."

Some of the artifacts include gloves from the Apollo era, space shuttle tiles and tires, a launch entry suit and a Mars rover model. Visitors to the museum also can view models of the next-generation space vehicles, the ARES rockets and Orion capsule, which are being developed to return humans to the moon. Also on display will be an exhibit about NASA wind tunnels and wind tunnel research.

A traveling display, called "Journey to Tomorrow," includes interactive computer kiosks that feature NASA highlights. Examples include "Celebrating 100 Years of Flight," which is about NASA's contributions to the first century of powered flight; "Brain Bites," which answers common questions about air and space travel; and a lunar landing simulator. Additional workstations include a planetary gravity demonstrator and a solar system scale where visitors discover how much they would weigh on each of the planets.

NASA's 50th anniversary also is being honored at other venues at AirVenture, including EAA's Theater in the Woods. Former astronaut Robert "Hoot" Gibson is planning to host a NASA birthday celebration Wednesday evening, July 30, and former astronaut Joe Engle and retired test pilot Fitz Fulton are scheduled to pay tribute to 50 years of NASA aeronautics Saturday night, Aug. 2.

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