Status Report

Congratulating NASA and Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz for a Shuttle Mission – Hon. Gene Green (Extensions of Remarks – June 14, 2002)

By SpaceRef Editor
June 14, 2002
Filed under , ,

[Page: E1066]



Thursday, June 13, 2002

  • Mr. GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate NASA on the successful launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on June 6. This important mission has delivered the Expedition Five crew, and continues to install the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module and the Mobile Remote Servicer Base System on the International Space Station.
  • This launch marks Endeavour’s 18th flight and also marks the 14th shuttle flight to the space station. This launch is also historically significant because Astronaut Franklin Chang-Díaz makes a record-tying seventh flight into space. He now shares the record with Astronaut Jerry Ross.
  • During this mission, Astronaut Franklin Chang-Díaz, along with French Space Agency Astronaut Philippe Perrin have also preformed three scheduled spacewalks that continue the assembly of the International Space Station. These extravehicular activities mark the first time that Chang-Díaz and Perrin have been the first spacewalks for both astronauts.
  • Four years ago, I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Dr. Franklin Chang-Díaz, an outstanding scientist and an accomplished astronaut. During this four year period, Dr. Chang-Díaz has accompanied me to nine middle schools in my district to talk about the importance of our national space program and to encourage students to take more math and science classes. I have also had the opportunity to visit his plasma propulsion laboratory at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in


  • Dr. Chang-Díaz is a man of many talents. Not only is he the second human to make seven space flights, he is also currently developing the new Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) concept. The VASIMR prototype rocket engine is designed to shorten the trip to Mars and provide a saver environment for the crew.
  • Dr. Chang-Díaz has been working with scientists at NASA and the Department of Energy to develolp this project. To date, he has been able to secure just enough funding to keep the project operating. However, this project is too important to allow it to just survive. I am hopeful that NASA will quickly realize the need to have a dedicated stream of funding for the VASIMR project.
  • Our nation is fortunate to have such outstanding individuals, like Dr. Chang-Díaz and the other crew members, as part of our national space program. Our NASA astronauts are scheduled to arrive back to earth on Monday, June 17. At that time, I look forward to welcoming back our heros.
  • Mr. Speaker, I ask that my colleagues join me in congratulating Astronaut Franklin Chang-Díaz, the Johnson Space Center in Houston and everyone at NASA for a successful launch and a successful mission.

SpaceRef staff editor.