March 23, 2009

NASA honors astronaut Thomas Mattingly

The U.S. space agency says it plans to honor astronaut Thomas Mattingly with the presentation of an Ambassador of Exploration Award.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said Mattingly will be honored for his contributions to the U.S. space program. The presentation will be made during a Thursday ceremony at the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University in Alabama, where the award will be placed on display.

NASA said its Ambassador of Exploration Awards are being presented 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 award is a moon rock encased in Lucite, mounted for public display. The rock is part of the 842 pounds of lunar samples collected during six Apollo expeditions from 1969 to 1972.

Mattingly is one of a few Apollo astronauts who also flew aboard the space shuttle.