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Astronaut to speak April 9 at UT Pan American
By C.M. Powell, Informational Writer III
381-3639
Posted: 03/26/1999
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Shuttle astronaut Dr. Nancy J. Currie, who was the flight engineer aboard the historic December 1998 shuttle mission that began construction of the International Space Station, will give two lectures Friday, April 9, at The University of Texas-Pan American.

Currie, who is also a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, will address high school students from throughout the Rio Grande Valley at the UTPA Fieldhouse from 10 to 11:20 a.m. She is scheduled to present a UTPA pennant she carried with her into space on the December mission to Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez, president of UTPA, during the morning program.

She also will speak to UTPA students, faculty and staff from 2 to 2:45 p.m. in room 1.300 of the Engineering Building.

The objective of the 12-day mission in December aboard the shuttle Endeavour was to mate the first American-made module, Unity, to the first Russian-made module, Zarya. Currie’s primary role was to operate the shuttle’s 50-foot robotic arm to retrieve Zarya and connect the first two station segments.

Currie also was a mission specialist on shuttle missions in June 1993 and July 1995, logging over the three missions a total of more than 737 hours in space and 482 orbits of the earth.

She received her doctorate in industrial engineering from the University of Houston in 1997. Her dissertation advisor at UH was Dr. Jacob Chen, who is now the dean of the College of Science and Engineering at UTPA.

Currie, who also holds a bachelor’s degree in biological science and a master’s degree in safety, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1981. A Master Army Aviator, she has logged 3,900 flying hours in a variety of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. She was assigned to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 1987 as a flight simulation engineer, was selected for the program in 1990 and became an astronaut in 1991.

For more information on Currie’s lectures, call the Office of the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at 956/381-2404.