Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts
During his 25 years in the astronaut program, Dr. Franklin R. Chang Díaz became one of only two astronauts to fly on seven space shuttle missions. He logged more than 1,601 hours in space, a total that includes 19 hours and 31 minutes accumulated during three spacewalks. Chang Díaz’s missions aboard the space shuttle include STS-61-C, STS-34, STS-46, STS-60, STS-75, STS-91 and STS-111.
Chang Díaz’s missions into space include numerous scientific achievements. As a crew member of STS-61-C, Dr. Chang Díaz participated in the deployment of the SATCOM KU satellite, operated the materials processing laboratory MSL-2 and conducted astrophysics experiments. On STS-34, the crew aboard Atlantis successfully deployed the Galileo spacecraft on its journey to explore Jupiter. The crew on this mission also mapped atmospheric ozone levels with the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet. Instrument (SSBUV) and performed research on the effects of microgravity in plants.
Chang Díaz’s STS-46 mission resulted in the deployment of the European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA) satellite, and the first test flight of the Tethered Satellite System (TSS). In 1994, Chang Díaz flew on STS-60 a mission that included the first flight of the Wake Shield Facility (WSF-1) and the second flight of the Space Habitation Module-2 (Spacehab-2). This mission also is noteworthy because it was the first joint U.S./Russian Space Shuttle mission on which a Russian Cosmonaut was a crew member.
When Chang Díaz returned to space on STS-75, the Tethered Satellite System was once again one of the primary payloads on the mission. During this flight, the TSS successfully demonstrated the ability of tethers to produce electricity. Chang Díaz also flew on STS-91, in which Discovery spent four days docked to the Mir Space Station and on STS-111, his final mission in which he installed the Mobile Base System on the International Space Station where he replace the failed wrist joint on Canadarm II.
Chang Díaz retired from NASA in July 2005 and then founded Ad Astra Rocket Company, which is dedicated to the development of advanced plasma rocket propulsion technology. Ad Astra’s efforts have led to the production of a rocket that has the theoretical capability of carrying a manned mission to Mars in just 39 days.
Chang Díaz was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 5, 2012.