WAPAKONETA — The First on the Moon committee will present “The Day a Woodpecker Attacked the Space Shuttle” with astronaut, scientist, professional speaker and educator Don Thomas as a Facebook Live event on Wednesday, June 3, at 7 p.m. on its Facebook page. Thomas will share the fun and fascinating story about the STS-70 mission, which featured an “All-Ohio” crew and was made famous by a woodpecker attacking the shuttle. The event is free and open to the public.
Thomas grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He received a bachelor of science degree in Physics from Case Western University, and a master’s degree and doctorate in Materials Science from Cornell University.
After working at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey and Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Company in Houston, Texas, Thomas joined NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center as a Materials Engineer.
Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Thomas became an astronaut in July 1991. Thomas has served in the Safety, Operations Development, and Payloads Branches of the Astronaut Office. He was CAPCOM (spacecraft communicator) for Shuttle missions STS-47, 52 and 53.
From July 1999 to June 2000 he was Director of Operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. A veteran of four space flights, he has logged over 1,040 hours in space. He was a mission specialist on STS-65 (July 8 through 23, 1994), STS-70 (July 13 through 22, 1995), STS-83 (April 4 through 8, 1997) and STS-94 (July 1 through 17, 1997).
In his last assignment Thomas served as the International Space Station Program Scientist overseeing NASA experiments performed on the ISS. He retired from NASA in July 2007.
Thomas is the author of Orbit of Discovery, an engaging first-person account of Discovery’s STS-70 mission that shares the excitement, passion, adventure, accomplishments, and sheer fun of the Space Shuttle Program.
Thomas is recipient of the NASA Sustained Superior Performance Award, 1989. He is also the recipient of four NASA Group Achievement Awards, four NASA Space Flight Medals, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
“We’re committed to providing programming and events about aviation/space to underscore Wapakoneta’s unique role as the hometown of Neil Armstrong. Dr. Don Thomas is a great friend to our community, having served as the grand marshal for the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary parade. We’re so pleased about his willingness to present this Facebook Live event, which will fascinate children and adults,” First on the Moon committee member Rachel Barber said.
First on the Moon enhances public understanding of and appreciation for Wapakoneta’s unique identity as the home of Neil A. Armstrong, first person to walk on the moon. First on the Moon develops and implements public arts and humanities programming, thematic events, and legacy initiatives that garner a high degree of collaboration among stakeholders and reach the widest demographic possible.
Those with questions about First on the Moon or this event may contact Barber at 419-738-4924 or [email protected].