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Olga Mesropova, Foreign Languages and Literatures,
(515) 294-4046
Dave Gieseke, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Public Relations,
(515) 294-7742
Debra Gibson, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, IOWA -- When Iowa State University foreign languages lecturer Olga Mesropova met Russian tutors at a recent conference, she was intrigued by their latest assignment: Teaching the Russian language to NASA astronauts as they prepared to work with cosmonauts in the Soviet Union.

Mesropova suggested one of the NASA students come to the Iowa State campus to discuss learning a new language and using it at work. She found a willing participant in Clayton Anderson, an Iowa State University graduate who will speak on "The International Flavor of the Space Station" at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20 at the Brunnier Art Museum. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Anderson received his master's degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State in 1983, and was hired by NASA that same year. Admitted into NASA's astronaut program in 1998, Anderson periodically travels to Star City, Russia, where he studies alongside his Soviet counterparts at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.

"It's my understanding that Anderson has been conducting some ground mission control while the Russian crews have been up in space," Mesropova said, "and he's been able to communicate with them in Russian. I've asked him to talk also about how Russia and the U.S. are cooperating in space endeavors, and how those relationships differ from those during the Cold War.

Anderson, a Nebraska native, currently is assigned the lead for the Enhanced Caution and Warning System development effort within the Space Shuttle Cockpit Avionics Upgrade Project. He also serves as a Space Station Capsule Communicator for Station missions, and as the Astronaut Office crew representative for the Station's electrical power system. He will continue to serve in technical areas until assigned to a space flight.

While in Iowa, Anderson also will be speaking at the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa. His visit is being supported in part by the REEES Distance Learning Consortium, a Regents' institutions' group aimed at enriching Russian, East European and Eurasian studies throughout the state and the region. Other sponsors of Anderson's ISU visit include the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, the Department of Aerospace Engineering and the NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center.


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