In a unique extension of a tradition that dates back to
the beginning of human space flight, NASA Administrator
Daniel S. Goldin today announced that the next mission of
Space Shuttle Endeavour will honor the victims of last
month’s terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and

In announcing the “Flags for Heroes and Families” campaign,
Administrator Goldin said thousands of American flags will be
carried into space by Endeavor and its seven member crew and
will be distributed to the victims’ families and survivors of
the September attacks.

“The ‘Flags for Heroes and Families’ campaign is a way for us
to honor and show our support for the thousands of brave men
and women who have selflessly contributed to the relief and
recovery efforts,” said Administrator Goldin. “The American
flags are a patriotic symbol of our strength and solidarity,
and our Nation’s resolve to prevail.”

As part of this NASA-sponsored effort, nearly 6,000 American
flags will be carried into orbit aboard Endeavour. The
mission, known as STS-108, is currently scheduled for lift-
off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Nov. 29.

“NASA wanted to come up with an appropriate tribute to the
people who lost their lives in the tragic events of September
11,” added Administrator Goldin. “America’s space program has
a long history of carrying items into space to commemorate
historic events, acts of courage and dramatic achievements.
‘Flags for Heroes and Families’ is a natural extension of
this ongoing outreach project.”

The legacy of flying American flags to space started in 1961
with the flight of the first American astronaut, Alan
Shepard. Students from Cocoa Beach Elementary School in
Florida purchased a flag from a local department store, which
was later was rolled up and placed between cables behind
Shepard’s head inside his Freedom 7 Mercury spacecraft.

The flags carried into orbit as part of the “Flags for Heroes
and Families” effort will be returned to Earth at the end of
STS-108, mounted on specially designed memorial certificates,
and presented to the survivors and families of the victims in
New York and the Pentagon, and to the families of the heroes
killed aboard United Airlines flight 93, which crashed in

Wednesday afternoon, Administrator Goldin presented the city
of New York and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani with an American flag
carried into space on a previous space shuttle flight. The
Administrator announced plans to present new flags to each
New York fire house and police precinct that has played a
role in the rescue and recovery efforts.

“We feel ‘Flags for Heroes and Families’ is a fitting tribute
from our Nation’s space program to honor those affected by
this American tragedy,” concluded Administrator Goldin. “The
entire NASA family has come together with a historic display
of unity on a project designed to comfort of all who have
been touched by these horrific events.”

STS-108 will be the 12th space shuttle mission to visit the
International Space Station. Endeavour will deliver the
Expedition Four Crew — Commander Yuri Onufrienko of
Rosaviakosmos and American Flight Engineers Carl Walz and Dan
Bursch — and return the Expedition Three crew home to Earth.
Dominic Gorie will command STS-108, and Mark Kelly will serve
as pilot. Astronauts Linda Godwin and Daniel Tani are mission
specialists for this flight.

Additional information about STS-108 and the International
Space Station is available on the Internet at: