After 18 months of intense training, Maryland native and former international math and science teacher Ricky Arnold has graduated and is a NASA astronaut.

Arnold is available for interviews by satellite from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. CST March 2. He and 11 classmates received official NASA Astronaut pins Feb. 10. Media interested in interviewing Arnold should contact Tiffany Travis at (281) 244-1247 by 4 p.m. CST Tuesday, March 1.

Arnold has more than 10 years experience teaching at international American schools. He taught mathematics and science at the American International School of Bucharest, Romania, when selected by NASA in May 2004. He also taught at international American schools in Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. He began his teaching career as a middle school science teacher in Waldorf, Md.

Arnold is now assigned as a mission specialist-educator in the Astronaut Office’s International Space Station Branch and Education Office. He is among three teachers chosen as educator astronauts in 2004. The educator astronauts are now fully qualified NASA astronauts. They each have classroom experience they will use to develop new ways to connect spaceflight with the classroom and inspire students.

Arnold is a graduate of Frostburg State University, Md. He received a master’s from the University of Maryland. For biographical information on NASA astronauts on the Web, visit:

The interviews will be carried live on the NASA Television analog satellite. The coordinates are: satellite AMC-6, at 72 degrees west longitude, transponder 5C, 3800 MHz, vertical polarization, with audio at 6.8 MHz.