On July 16, 1969, the three astronauts of Apollo 11 began a momentous journey when a Saturn V rocket launched their spacecraft into the heavens from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island in Florida. A half-century later, the Moon-bound trip undertaken by Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins remains one of the greatest... Continue Reading →

Kalpana Chawla, an American astronaut who became the first woman of Indian descent to travel into space, was born in the city of Karnal in northern India in 1962. As a child, she demonstrated a strong enthusiasm for human flight by drawing pictures of airplanes. She also visited flying clubs in that region of India... Continue Reading →

The trailblazing NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao was born in Milwaukee in 1960. The son of immigrant Taiwanese parents of Han Chinese ancestry, Chiao grew up in Danville, California. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1983 with a B.S. in chemical engineering. Chiao went on to earn an M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical... Continue Reading →

December 21, 1968 Apollo 8, the second human spaceflight mission of the Apollo program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was launched from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:51 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The members of this mission’s crew were U.S. Air Force (USAF) Colonel Frank Borman, U.S. Navy... Continue Reading →

Jerry C. Elliott, a Cherokee-Osage Native American, began his career at NASA in 1966. He started out as a flight mission operations engineer and, in the years since, has risen through the ranks at NASA in progressively more responsible technical and managerial positions in such areas as spacecraft systems, hardware, software, scientific experiments, and astronaut... Continue Reading →

In 2002, astronaut John Herrington became the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to travel into outer space. (William R. Pogue, who flew into outer space during the 1970s as the pilot for the Skylab 4 mission, was of Choctaw ancestry; however, he was not an enrolled member of the Choctaw.) As a... Continue Reading →

Charles Elachi officially assumed his duties as the eighth director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a California-based federally funded research and development center and NASA field center. Elachi had been born in the town of Rayak in Lebanon in 1947. Elachi received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France;... Continue Reading →

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