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U.S. Mir astronaut John Blaha left NASA after his mission to Mir. In his Oral History, Blaha comments on his post-NASA space-related activities.
He says, "They asked me to be the chairman of a board to bring a Challenger Learning Center to San Antonio. I started that in August . . .
"I am also a member of a committee on engineering challenges to the long term operation of the International Space Station. Therefore, I still feel I am involved with the Space Station and in the space program.
Helping children connect with their futures means a lot to Blaha. "About once a week I have either a luncheon or a dinner or speech somewhere here in San Antonio, or I visit an elementary school and put my flight suit on and talk to children . . .
. . . I use space as a way to open up their minds and their hearts. My basic message to children in elementary schools is that each one of them is a very important person, each one of them has a talent and a skill. It may be to be the best mother in the world one day, it may be to be the greatest carpenter and build nice homes for people, it may be to be a terrific car mechanic, etc. Or I tell them things like, "Maybe one of you one day will learn how to fix my eyes so that my eyes would work perfect without these glasses on."
"I tell them there are millions of things that they can do in their life, and each one of them has a unique talent. There's plenty for each one of them to do. My message to children is not space, but I use space as a way to open their hearts and minds."
Profile: John Blaha
John Blaha Oral History (PDF)
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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty