Colombian-American to command NASA mission

An astronaut of Colombian decent, George Zamka, will command a NASA flight aboard space shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station on February 7.

The mission, which is set to launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida, will mark the end of a historic year for Hispanic astronauts in NASA.

Since February 2009, NASA missions have included Puerto Ricans Joseph Acaba and Danny Oliva, and Mexican Jose Hernandez.

For Zamka, this mission will be his second trip to outer space. Zamka first travelled into space aboard space shuttle Discovery in 2007.

Zamka and his crew will be delivering the most advanced life-support system ever flown in space to the International Space Sation.

Zamka, whose mother is Colombian, become a pilot with NASA in 1998 after leading a successful career in the U.S. Air Force.

He was born in the United States, but moved with his family when he was fourteen to Medelin, Colombia.

The move to Colombia was very challenging for Zamka, he told Terra Colombia.

Zamka goes on to explain that his experience of living in Colombia empowered him with the necessary skills to be successful in his professional life.

“One day I thought, while taking notes in Spanish: Oh my God, how wonderful is it that I can understand Spanish. I would never have done that if I hadn’t lived in Colombia; this allowed me to appreciate learning other languages and cultures and obviously this has also served me here [in NASA] as we are building the International Space Station”.

Zamka arrived in Cape Canaveral last week to make the final preparations for his mission on spaceship Endeavour.

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