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NASA astronaut to speak at UTC Challenger Center

Retired NASA astronaut Norm Thagard, M.D., will visit the Challenger Center at UTC Friday, February 18, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for a special presentation to students visiting the center. The public is invited to attend.

Thagard, Associate Dean for College Relations, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Bernard F. Sliger Eminent Scholar Chair at Florida State University will be in Chattanooga to narrate portions of a special show about planets for the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra.

Selected as one of 35 astronauts from a pool of more than 8,000 candidates in 1978, Thagard has logged over 140 days in space during five space flights.

During his first flight in 1983, Thagard collected data on physiological changes associated with astronaut adaptation to weightlessness, and was the first to document the illness associated with Space Motion Sickness. He also participated in the first ever capture of a rotating free-flying satellite.

Thagard was the first NASA astronaut designated as a "Payload Commander," serving in that capacity aboard the Shuttle Discovery which lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida in January, 1992. Thagard was the first to propose and use intravenous administration of the drug Phenergan to successfully combat Space Motion Sickness.

In March, 1992, Thagard was selected to represent the United States as the first American to fly in the Russian space program, serving as the cosmonaut researcher for the Russian Mir 18 mission. In 1995, Thagard became the first NASA astronaut to launch from any site other than the Kennedy Space Center and on any non-U.S. spacecraft. At the completion of the 140 day flight, Thagard held the record at that time for the longest space flight as the most experienced U.S. astronaut.

Thagard retired from NASA in 1996. He is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee, with shuttle/mission control/space station simulators, digital space theater/planetarium and IMAX theater.

For more information about Thagardís visit to UTC, please contact Tom Patty, director of the Challenger Center at UTC, (423)425-4126.

February 11, 2005

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