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New Hampshire Astronauts 'Touch Down' at UNH
DURHAM, N.H. -- New Hampshire's two astronauts will "touch down" at the University of New Hampshire for two days of classroom visits, a public lecture and a special flag presentation during a football halftime show.

The Oct. 16-17 campus visit of "Columbia" shuttle astronauts Rick Linnehan, a 1980 UNH graduate, and Jay Buckey, a Dartmouth College professor of medicine, will also focus on the university's active space science research program and coincides with UNH Family Weekend.

"We are honored to host these two exceptional individuals," says UNH President Joan Leitzel. "They are true American heroes and role models for our students, as well as inspirations to our faculty and staff, and the community at large."

Linnehan and Buckey were among the seven-person crew of the "Columbia," which flew in space for 16 days in the spring of 1998. The Neurolab STS-90 mission included studying the effects of microgravity on humans and animals. Veterinarian Linnehan was payload commander aboard "Columbia," his second shuttle mission. He received a degree in animal sciences from UNH, with a minor in microbiology.

Buckey, a professor of medicine and electrical engineer, took a leave of absence from his medical school duties to be a shuttle payload specialist on his first shuttle flight.

Linnehan and Buckey will present a lecture Friday, Oct. 16, at 10 a.m. in the Granite State Room of the Memorial Union Building. The talk is free and open to the public; the audience will include science and math students from several area high schools.

The astronauts' afternoon schedule Oct. 16 includes a tour of the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space (EOS) and an overview of ongoing projects and meetings with student researchers. EOS last year boasted approximately $21 million in research funding, more than half from NASA, placing it among the top 25 NASA-funded educational institutions in the nation.

Saturday, Oct. 17, the astronauts will mingle with parents, students, faculty and others attending the annual UNH Family Weekend and "Taste of Durham" festivities.

Linnehan and Buckey also will be on hand at Cowell Stadium for the noon kickoff of the UNH-Northeastern football match-up, and then be spotlighted at the halftime show. During that ceremony, President Leitzel will be presented with an American flag which traveled aboard "Columbia."

For more information, contact the Office of Public Programs and Events, at (603) 862-1461.

The following schedule includes a list of media opportunities during the UNH visit of astronauts Linnehan and Buckey. Times are approximate

. PLEASE NOTE: A special media interview session has been scheduled (see below).

For more information, contact Carmelle Druchniak, UNH News Bureau, at 603-862-1462.

8:30 a.m. Jay Buckey, classroom visits - Sites TBA
10 a.m. Public lecture, Buckey/Linnehan Granite State Room Memorial Union Building
11:15 a.m. Media Interview Session - Informal discussion, Q&A with astronauts Conference Room 203 Memorial Union Building
1:30 p.m. Project Overviews/Student Presentations-Demonstrations Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans & Space Morse Hall atrium

11:15 a.m. Astronauts visit "Taste of Durham" and Family Weekend events
Main Street lawn, near Thompson Hall
12 noon Kickoff, UNH vs. Northeastern University Cowell Stadium
1:30 p.m. Halftime show. Flag presentation to UNH President Leitzel Cowell Stadium

See following schedule for interview/photo opportunities.
Special Oct. 16-17 visit includes classroom talks, lecture, flag presentation

By Carmelle Druchniak
UNH News Bureau