Portrait of Franklin Chang-Diaz

Franklin Chang-Diaz

Franklin Chang-Diaz is an American astronaut who was born on April 5, 1950, in Costa Rica. Before he became an astronaut, Chang-Diaz was an engineer in physics.

Chang-Diaz became an astronaut in 1980. He was the first Hispanic-American to travel in space. He has spent over 1033 hours in space on 5 spaceflights.

In 1986, Chang-Diaz flew aboard space shuttle Columbia. The crew put a satellite into orbit. Chang-Diaz made his second spaceflight aboard STS-34 in 1989. This mission launched the spacecraft Galileo. Galileo travelled to Jupiter and is gathering data about the planet.

In 1992, he made his third flight aboard STS-46. The crew conducted the first Tethered Satellite System test. In 1994, Chang-Diaz flew aboard STS-60. This mission was the first joint U.S./Russian Space Shuttle mission.

In 1996, Chang-Diaz made his last flight aboard STS-75. The crew made a reflight of the Tethered Satellite System (TSS). The TSS successfully proved that tethers can produce electricity in space. It also provided new information about plasma physics. Unfortunately, the tether broke 19.7 km out.

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