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Latino Daily News

Tuesday March 13, 2012

Spanish Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria Retires after 20 Years at NASA

Spanish Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria Retires after 20 Years at NASA

Photo: Spanish Astronaurt Michael Lopez-Alegria Retires

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Spanish astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria has left NASA after 20 years with the U.S. space agency.

The 53-year-old engineer and former U.S. Navy pilot has dual Spanish-U.S. citizenship and holds two records: the first as the NASA astronaut with the most experience on spacewalks, 10, and the second for being a member of the longest spaceflight mission.

During his career, NASA said, Lopez-Alegria spent more than 257 days in space, including 215 days as commander of the 14th expedition to the International Space Station.

His 67 hours of spacewalks have only been exceeded by Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev.

“Mike has faithfully served the Flight Crew Operations Directorate for many years,” Janet Kavandi, NASA director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson, said of the departing astronaut.

“Mike has been a huge asset to the astronaut office during the course of his career,” said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office at Johnson. “His contributions in spacewalking, shuttle, space station and Soyuz operations are notable and very distinguished. Personally, we will miss his humor and insights and wish him all the best.”