NASA Honors Biloxi's Apollo Astronaut Fred Haise with Moon Rock

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will present astronaut Fred Haise, Jr., with NASA's Ambassador of Exploration Award during a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at the Gorenflo Elementary School in Biloxi, Miss. Haise will present the award, consisting of a moon rock encased in Lucite for display, to Paul Tisdale, superintendent of the Biloxi Public School System, and Tina Thompson, the school's principal. Haise attended Gorenflo.

NASA is giving the Ambassador of Exploration Award to the first generation of explorers in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs for realizing America's goal of going to the moon. The moon rock is part of the 842 pounds of lunar samples collected during six Apollo expeditions from 1969 to 1972.

Haise was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 13 in 1970 and has logged 142 hours and 54 minutes in space. Apollo 13 was scheduled for a 10-day lunar mission, but the flight plan was modified because of a failure of the service module's cryogenic oxygen system. Haise and fellow crew members, James A. Lovell and John L. Swigert, working closely with NASA ground controllers in Houston, converted their lunar module Aquarius into an effective lifeboat. Their emergency activation and operation of lunar module systems conserved enough electrical power and water to assure their safety and survival in space and for their return to Earth.

Haise also was the backup lunar module pilot for the Apollo 8 and 11 missions, and backup spacecraft commander for the Apollo 16 mission. He was commander of one of two crews that piloted critical approach and landing test flights during the development of the space shuttle.

Haise was born in Biloxi, and received his bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1959. For more biographical information about Haise, visit:

NASA's Digital Learning Network, which allows students and teachers to connect with NASA through videoconferences and webcasts, will broadcast the event online Dec. 2 from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. EST at:

Beginning Dec. 2, NASA Television will air a video file with highlights from Haise's mission. For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:

For information about and pictures of the NASA Ambassador of Exploration Award, visit:

To learn more about Biloxi schools, visit:

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

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