Franklin R. Chang-D'iaz was born on April 5, 1950 in San Jose, Costa Rica. His father's name is Mr. Ram " on A.
Chang-Morales, he is Chinese. His mother's name is Mrs. Mar " ia Eugenia D'iaz De Chang, she is Costa Rican. Franklin lived in Costa Rica with them when he was a boy and he later moved to the United States. He is married to the former Peggy Marguerite Doncaster of Alexandria, Louisiana. He has four children.
And he has several brothers and sisters. His mother, brothers, and sisters still reside in Costa Rica. His father has passed away. Franklin resides with his family in Houston, Texas. Franklin dreamed of being an astronaut when he was a little boy.
He and his friends would pretend that a big cardboard box was a spaceship and they were all astronauts. As an older boy, he would look at the night sky every night to see the trajectory of Sputnik - the first satellite that was sent into orbit by the Soviet Union in 1957. He graduated from Colegio De La Salle in Costa Rica in November 1967 and from Hartford High School in Hartford, Connecticut in 1969. He went to the University of Connecticut and received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1973.
He then went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received a doctorate in applied plasma physics in 1977. While attending the University of Connecticut, he also worked as a research assistant in the Physics Department and participated in the design and construction of high energy atomic collision experiments. Following graduation in 1973, he entered graduate school at MIT, becoming heavily involved in the United States' controlled fusion program and doing intensive research in the design and operation of fusion reactors. He obtained his doctorate in the field of applied plasma physics and fusion technology and, in that same year, joined the technical staff of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. His work at Draper was geared strongly toward the design and integration of control systems for fusion reactor concepts and experimental devices, in both inertial and magnetic confinement fusion. In 1979, he developed a novel concept to guide and target fuel pellets in an inertial fusion reactor chamber.
More recently he has been engaged in the design of a new concept in rocket propulsion based on magnetically confined high temperature plasmas. As a visiting scientist with the M. I. T.
Plasma Fusion Center from October 1983 to December 1993, he led the plasma propulsion program there to develop this technology for future human missions to Mars. In December 1993, Dr. Chang-D'iaz was appointed Director of the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center where he continues his research on plasma rockets. He is an Adjunct Professor of Physics at Rice University and the University of Houston and has presented numerous papers at technical conferences and in scientific journals. In addition to his main fields of science and engineering, he worked for 2. 5 years as a house manager in an experimental community residence for de-institutionalizing chronic mental patients.
He was also heavily involved as an instructor / advisor with a rehabilitation program for Hispanic drug abusers in Massachusetts. Impressed by all of Franklin's accomplishments, NASA selected him in May 1980. While he was training to become an astronaut, he was involved in flight software checkout at the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL), and participated in the early Space Station design studies. In August 1981, he became an astronaut. In late 1982, he was designated as support crew for the first Space lab mission.
In November 1983, he served as an orbit capsule communicator (CAPCOM) during that flight. From October 1984 to August 1985, he was leader of the astronaut support team at the Kennedy Space Center. His duties included astronaut support during the processing of the various vehicles and payloads, as well as flight crew support during the processing of the various vehicles and payloads, as well as flight crew support during the final phases of the launch countdown. In January 1986, his childhood dream came true as he was launched into space on the space shuttle Columbia.
He has been on six more space flights. His most recent was in June 2002 when he was on the space shuttle Endeavor. He has logged over 1, 601 hours in space including 19 hours and 31 minutes in three spacewalks. Currently, Franklin resides in Houston with his wife and four children. He enjoys music, glider planes, soccer, scuba-diving, and hiking.
In his spare time, Franklin makes appearances and speeches about his space career and to encourage people to consider being an astronaut. He also spends a lot of time talking to school children. He especially encourages Hispanic children to become interested in and pursue an education in the sciences. The most significant thing about Franklin R. Chang D'iaz is that he was the first Hispanic to travel into space.