Astronaut Stephen Robinson, a native of Sacramento, will be the featured speaker at NASA Ames Research Center on Wednesday, April 12, 2006, highlighting a week-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of STS-1, the space shuttle’s first flight.

Robinson will describe his work as a scientist at Ames prior to and during STS-1 and also discuss his experiences during Space Shuttle Discovery’s STS-114 mission last summer. The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. PDT in the Eagle Room of Bldg. 943 at NASA Ames. Seating is limited to 300 people, so an early arrival is encouraged at the free public event. Building 943 is adjacent to the Exploration Center, located at the entrance to NASA Ames on Moffett Boulevard.

During the week of April 11 to 16, NASA Ames will also feature a new space shuttle exhibit in its Exploration Center and will show a new video highlighting NASA Ames’ key role in the first space shuttle flight and in the program over the past 25 years. Both the exhibit and video showings are open to the public and free of charge.

During the anniversary celebration week, the Exploration Center will be open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. PDT and from 12 noon to 4 p.m. PDT on Saturday and Sunday. On Wednesday, April 12, the Exploration Center and the nearby NASA Gift Shop will be open extended hours, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. PDT.

Featured in the new exhibit will be displays of Ames’ contributions to the space shuttle program over the past quarter century, as well as the center’s current and future activities in support of the new Crew Exploration Vehicle and Crew Launch Vehicle that NASA is developing to return to the moon and later to Mars.

Over the years, NASA Ames has played a major role in the space shuttle program, using its unique national facilities, such as the Unitary Wind Tunnel Complex, the Arc Jet Facility to test a wide variety of space shuttle components and models, and the Vertical Motion Simulator, to train shuttle astronauts. NASA Ames’ critical core capabilities in computational fluid dynamics, information technology and thermal protection systems also have played a key role in the Space Shuttle Program, particularly last year in NASA’s Return to Flight efforts for STS-114.

NASA Ames’ personnel and facilities have been and continue to be used in the analysis of new space exploration system designs, the development of in-flight analysis tools, improvements in thermal protection durability and repair, and the analysis of large data sets contained in complex simulations by one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, Project Columbia.

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