Former space shuttle pilot Michael J. McCulley is in Kenai today to discuss the future of space exploration in the United States.
McCulley, a retired U.S. Navy captain and NASA astronaut, piloted the STS-34 Shuttle mission in October 1989, when the Galileo spacecraft was launched to explore Jupiter.
These days, McCulley serves as president and CEO of the United Space Alliance (USA), a joint space operations business run by Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The company is NASA's primary contractor for the space shuttle.
McCulley will be at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai this morning, where he will spend time with students at space camp, offering autographs and sharing a lunch of "space food" with the youth.
This afternoon, McCulley will give a public presentation on the future of space exploration. Specifically, he will discuss the nation's "Vision for Space Exploration," which President George W. Bush announced Jan. 14.
The vision provides a stepping-stone plan for NASA's future, beginning with the return to space shuttle flight, expected in the spring of 2005, and continuing with sending humans back to the moon, on to Mars and beyond in coming decades.
McCulley's presentation is free and open to the public. It will begin at 1 p.m. at the Challenger Learning Center.
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