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Astronaut Dominic Gorie keynotes Onizuka Science Day at UH Hilo

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Date: Monday, December 9, 2002
Contact: Judith Fox-Goldstein, (808) 974-7555

For Immediate Release

Astronaut Dominic Gorie will be the keynote speaker at the Third Annual Ellison Onizuka Science Day, scheduled for Saturday, January 25, 2003 at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo. Gorie is a veteran of three National Aeronautic and Space Administration space shuttle flights between 1998 and 2001.

Applications for Onizuka Day are currently available to students grades 4-10, their parents and teachers at any grade level. The program is free, but seating is limited on a space available, first come, first served basis. Participants under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult throughout the day. Applications are available by calling the UH Hilo Conference Center at (808) 974-7555, by e-mailing Art Kimura, Future Flight Hawai'i at or online at Confirmation will be sent to registered participants. Online applicants will receive instant confirmation.

Gorie will speak at the 9:30 a.m. opening general assembly in the UH Hilo Theatre. Workshop sessions will follow, and the 2:15 p.m. closing general assembly at the UH Hilo New Gym will feature demonstrations of "science magic."

One of the sponsors, American Savings Bank, has underwritten lunch for registered students, as well as the transportation costs for students from Honoka'a, Waimea and Kona.

Other sponsors include the Onizuka Memorial, the Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Space Center, the Onizuka family, UH Hilo and the Hawai`i Space Grant Consortium, UH Manoa, the Hawai`i State Teachers Association, the Zonta Club of Hilo, Waiakea High School (National Honor Society), NASA Ames Research Center, the Hawai`i Island Economic Development Board, Future Flight Hawai`i and the Hawai`i Science Teachers Association.

Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day is named after the NASA astronaut and U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel who died tragically on January 28, 1986 in the explosion of the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger only one minute and thirteen seconds after take off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Onizuka, a Big Island native, graduated from Konawaena High School in 1964. He attended the University of Colorado and graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering. As a United States Air Force test pilot and aerospace flight test engineer, he logged more than 1,700 hours flying time. He was selected an astronaut candidate in January 1978 and flew his first mission, from Kennedy Space Center on January 25, 1985 before becoming a member of the Challenger crew that would meet its untimely fate just over a year later.

Onizuka Science Day is a fitting tribute to Onizuka, a man who loved science, discovery, flight and space exploration. Perhaps his own legacy can be summed up with his own words: "Every generation has the obligation to free men's minds for a look at new worlds, to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation."

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