Durbin Meets with Belleville-native Crew Member of Final Space Shuttle Mission

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–October 13, 2011.  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) met with NASA Flight STA-135 Mission Specialist and Belleville, Illinois-native Dr. Sandy Magnus and Commander Chris Ferguson yesterday to discuss the International Space Station and continuing space exploration and research. The mission, which carried supplies and spare parts to the Space Station, landed on July 21, 2011, marking the end of America’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program.

“The Space Program is a part of our nation’s past, present and future,” said Durbin. “Though the Space Shuttle Program has ended, the work of Shuttle missions—including the impressive International Space Station they helped build and the Hubble Telescope they carried into space—will inspire imaginations for generations to come. Illinois should be proud of Belleville-native Sandy Magnus’ contributions to this important example of American ingenuity.”

Dr. Magnus is a veteran of 3 Shuttle missions including STA-135, and served four and a half months as a flight engineer and science officer aboard the International Space Station before returning to Earth. Commander Ferguson, a Philadelphia native who has spent more than 40 days in space, is also a veteran of three Shuttle missions.

Earlier this year, Senators Durbin and Kirk urged NASA to select Adler Planetarium as the public exhibition site for one of the three now-retired Space Shuttle Orbiters. While the Planetarium was not selected for a Shuttle, NASA has since announced that Adler will receive a flight simulator used to train astronauts for shuttle flights, which the museum will host as the centerpiece of a new space exhibit. 

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