NASA will honor Deke Slayton, one of the original seven NASA astronauts, with the presentation of the Ambassador of Exploration Award. Slayton is being honored and remembered for his pioneering involvement in America’s space programs.

The award is being presented at 5:30 p.m. CST, (6:30 p.m. EST), Wednesday, Feb. 22 at the Deke Slayton Memorial Space and Bicycle Museum, 200 West Main Street, Sparta, Wis. For information about the museum and media access to the event, contact: Kay Bender at: (608) 269-0033.

NASA is presenting the Ambassador of Exploration Award to the 38 astronauts who participated in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs for realizing America’s vision of space exploration from 1961 to 1972. The award is a small sample of lunar material encased in Lucite and mounted for public display. The material is part of the 842 pounds of samples brought back to Earth during the six Apollo lunar expeditions from 1969 to 1972. Slayton’s award will be displayed at the museum.

Slayton was born in Sparta in 1924. He flew 56 combat missions during WW II, and he was selected as one of the original Mercury astronauts in April 1959. He was named NASA’s Coordinator of Astronaut Activities in 1962. He made his first space flight as the Apollo docking module pilot for the historic Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission in July 1975. The flight was the first meeting in space by American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts. He spent more than 217 hours in space during the mission.

Slayton retired from NASA in 1982, and he passed away in 1993. For Slayton’s astronaut biography on the Web, visit:

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