Franklin Ramon Chang-Diaz was born April 5, 1950. A Costa Rican-born American Mechanical Engineer, physicist, and former NASA astronaut. He is the founder and CEO at Ad Astra Rocket Company and a member on Cummins’ board.
He has been a veteran on seven Space Shuttle missions and holds the record for the most Spaceflights as of 2021 (a record that was set by Jerry L. Ross). He was the third Latin American but the first Latin American immigrant NASA astronaut selected to go into orbit.
In 1980, NASA selected Chang-Diaz as an astronaut candidate. He flew his first Space Shuttle mission STS-61-C on September 1, 1986.
During STS-111, he was involved in three extravehicular Activities (EVAs), with Philippe Perrin, as part of the construction the International Space Station. From 1993 to 2005, he was also the director of the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory (HT0_ Johnson Space Center ).
Dr. Chang and students during filming of Odyssey 2050: The Movie at Ad Astra Rocket Company, 2010.
Chang-Diaz left NASA to establish the Ad Astra Rocket Company. This company was dedicated to the development and maintenance of advanced Plasma Rocket propulsion technology. After years of research and development, Chang-Diaz created the Variable Specific Impulse magneto plasma Rocket, which is an electric propulsion device that can be used in space.
Chang-Diaz is also active in environmental protection, raising awareness about climate changes. He was a key figure in Odyssey 2050 The Movie, where he encouraged young people to become more involved in environmental issues.
Chang-Diaz is also an Adjunct professor in Physics at Rice University. Since December 8, 2009, he has been a member of the Cummins board of directors.
He is also the father for the 2022 Massachusetts governoral election Sonia Chang Diaz.
Honors and awards
In 1986, Franklin Chang Diaz was one of twelve recipients of Medal of Liberty. On May 5, 2012, he was inducted into NASA Astronaut Hall Of Fame. The ceremony took place at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. He was also inducted into the NASA hall of fame.