Female space pioneer to keynote Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day at UH Hilo

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Date: Friday, January 18, 2002
Contact: Walter Dudoit, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

NASA Astronaut Shannon W. Lucid, who set the United States single mission space flight endurance record while stationed aboard the Russian SpaceStation Mir, will deliver the keynote address when the University of Hawai`i at Hilo hosts the Second Annual Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day. The event will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2002 beginning at 8:30 a.m. and is free and open to the public.


Lucid is a veteran of five space shuttle flights, including the 1989 mission aboard Atlantis, which deployed the Galileo spacecraft on its journey to explore Jupiter. Her first space shuttle flight was aboard Discovery in 1985, when the shuttle completed 112 orbits of the earth totaling nearly 170 hours, while deploying communication satellites for Mexico, the Arab League and the United States.


Lucid was selected for a second mission aboard Atlantis in 1991, which deployed Tracking and Data Relay Satellites, in addition to conducting various physical, material and life science experiments. In 1993, Lucid
became America's first female space traveler with the most hours in space, as part of Columbia's 14-day mission that conducted various experiments, which expanded existing scientific knowledge of human and animal physiology on earth and space flight alike.


Lucid's endurance record was established in 1996, beginning with her March 22 lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and concluded with her return on September 26. During her stay aboard Mir, Lucid performed numerous life and physical science experiments. In completing the mission, she traveled 75.2 million miles in 188 days.


Lucid, who became an astronaut in August 1979, was a member of the same 1978 class that produced Onizuka, the Kona-born astronaut who lost his life on January 28, 1986, when the space shuttle challenger exploded 73 seconds after lift-off. She will speak at the University Theatre from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Lucid's presentation is also free and open to the public.


The event begins with registration from 8:30 a.m.- 9:30 a.m. in the Campus Center Dining Room. A General Assembly, featuring a brief program, will be held at the UH Hilo Theatre, beginning at 9:30 a.m., before participants adjourn into their morning workshop sessions.


More than 20 interactive scientific workshops have been reserved for 5th-12th graders from the Big Island's public and private schools, who registered by the January 18 deadline. Topics include star gazing, space art, earthquakes and tsunamis, exploring underwater space, and photovoltaic array, conducted by UH Hilo professors, Department of Education educators, a NASA specialist and members of the Big Island Scientific community. An interactive display area on the University's Library Lanai, featuring exhibits and demonstrations sponsored by various scientific groups and organizations on the Big Island, will be open to the general public from 9:00 a.m.


The event is sponsored by UH Hilo, American Savings Bank, and the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center.


For additional information, please call (808) 974-7642.


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