KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (April 1, 2008) – The first female graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy to fly in space becomes the first female Astronaut Encounter presenter at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Having logged more than 1,200 in space, Lawrence now logs more time with thousands of guests expected this week during three daily programs.
“We were thrilled to first work with Wendy Lawrence during last year’s Salute to Girl Scouts and in conjunction with the opening of Shuttle Launch Experience attraction, said Daniel LeBlanc, Chief Operating Officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “As the first woman astronaut in our Astronaut Encounter program, Wendy Lawrence brings another dimension to the popular visitor program, inspiring the next generation of space explorers, scientists and engineers through her story.”
Lawrence’s affiliation with Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex began a year ago when she spoke to 600 Girl Scouts about the importance of teamwork and training. She appeared in the TV advertising for the new $60 million Shuttle Launch Experience alongside Space Shuttle astronauts Mark Lee, Jon McBride and Robert Springer. Together, they introduced the new attraction, demonstrating what only several hundred astronauts have experienced: the sights, sounds and sensations of launching into space aboard a Space Shuttle. Lawrence returns April 19 for a private briefing with Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts attending the Salute to Girl Scouts program at Kennedy Space Center.
A Jacksonville, Florida native, Lawrence received her Bachelor of Science degree in oceanering from the U.S. Naval Academy, and later was designated as a naval aviator accumulating 1,500 hours of flight time in six different types of helicopters. She received her Master of Science degree in ocean engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Selected by NASA in 1992, Lawrence qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. After completing one year of training, her first Space Shuttle mission, STS-67, launched from Kennedy Space Center on March 2, 1995 with the Astro Observatory. As the prior director of operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, Lawrence was well-prepared for her next two Space Shuttle Missions, STS-86 and STS-91, traveling to the Russian Space Station Mir. Lawrence was one of seven astronauts on STS-114, the “Return to Flight” mission following the Columbia disaster, in charge of the transfer of supplies and equipment and operating the Space Station robotic arm.
Lawrence is appearing at the Astronaut Encounter at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex through Sunday, April 6, 2008. She returns April 19 and April 26 for Salute to Girl Scouts, a day of exploration into the world of space travel for Girl Scouts of all ages. The program includes a KSC tour, the opportunity to meet with her, and hands-on, space-themed activities. For more information and to register for Salute to Girl Scouts, call 321-449-4400 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com/educatorsParents/salute.asp.
About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens at 9 a.m. Closing times vary by season. The Visitor Complex is open daily except December 25 and certain launch days. Admission includes the new Shuttle Launch Experience, Kennedy Space Center Tour, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, all exhibits, and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, featuring historic spacecraft, simulator rides and the world's largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia. Admission is $38 + tax for adults and $28 + tax for children ages 3-11. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Commander’s Club Annual Pass is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 321-449-4444 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
Editor’s Note: A limited number of interviews are available with Wendy Lawrence. To make arrangements for an interview and/or a photo opportunity, please contact Andrea Farmer at 321-449-4318 in advance.