Tico Astronaut, Franklin Chang, Answers Questions about New Book

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    In a recent Q&A, Chang tells fans about the “American Dream” and how to achieve such success in Costa Rica.

    As one of the first Latin Americans to venture into space and a NASA Hall Of Famer, Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz is a bit of a Costa Rican legend. With seven shuttle missions under his belt, Chang is tied with Jerry L. Ross for the most space flights taken. He has received the Liberty Medal from President Ronald Reagan himself as well as the Medal of Excellence from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Lately, however, the Colegio De La Salle (San Jose) alumnus has been getting the most attention for his mechanical work.

    According to Chang’s communications consultant, Bruce Callow:[quote_center]“These are interesting times for Dr. Chang [and] his VASIMR motor.”[/quote_center]

    The VASIMR was recently featured in the book version of the recently released film, The Martian, which stars Matt Damon. Based on the 2011 best-selling novel by Andy Weir, The Martian tells the story of a NASA crew who travels aboard a Hermes spacecraft, powered by four of Chang’s engines.

    Callow continued:[quote_center]“This connection with The Martian is kicking off a whole new round of interest in [Dr. Chang’s] work.”[/quote_center]

    That said, Chang isn’t just an astronaut and engineer; he’s also an author. His most recent book, Dream’s Journey, picks ups where the previous memoir, Early Years, left off. In Dream’s Journey, Chang talks about living in the States as a Chinese-Costa Rican in the 60s and 70s.

    Q&A with Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz

    Fans were given an opportunity to ask Chang questions about Dream’s Journey. Chang answered like a true engineer: short, sweet and to the point.

    [td_text_with_title custom_title=”Question 1″]

    You mention in the book that during a trip to the United States you had the opportunity to stay with relatives who lived there. If you didn’t have family in that country, what would you have done in order to achieve your dream of becoming an astronaut? (Daniela Garcia Fonseca)

    [dropcap]A:[/dropcap] To tell the truth, I don’t know. What I do know is that I would not have given up. I had already failed several times before that great opportunity came to me.[/td_text_with_title][td_text_with_title custom_title=”Question 2″]

    What is your best piece of advice to give people who wish to find the “American Dream” and are preparing to go? (Andres Carazo Castaños)

    [dropcap]A:[/dropcap] Arrive with an open heart, not only with the notion to receive but also to give. The American Dream is realized when there is more of the latter than the former. Also, learn English fast.[/td_text_with_title][td_text_with_title custom_title=”Question 3″]

    In the book you mention that you went bear hunting in the States. What is your position today on hunting animals like bears and other animals in Africa? (Denise Hodges)

    [dropcap]A:[/dropcap] No more![/td_text_with_title][td_text_with_title custom_title=”Question 4″]

    In Dream’s Journey you talk about how you were inspired by the lunar landing of NASA’s Apollo mission. When do you think astronauts will return to the moon, and when will they go to Mars? (Bruce Callow)

    [dropcap]A:[/dropcap] I hope really soon.[/td_text_with_title][td_text_with_title custom_title=”Question 5″]

    How do you balance your responsibilities of being a father and husband with your professional goals? (Ana Luisa Monge Naranjo)

    [dropcap]A:[/dropcap] That is something difficult. I’m not sure I’m successful at it.[/td_text_with_title][td_text_with_title custom_title=”Question 6″]

    What personal characteristics do we need to cultivate in children and youth to create a generation that will appreciate and promote local talent in order to achieve the same or more than those in the US. How do we reproduce here in Costa Rica the “dream trip” that you lived [there]? (Pablo Luna Sanchez)

    [dropcap]A:[/dropcap] Honesty, teamwork, to help others, respect, good sportsmanship, discipline, responsibility and to not pull the rug out from under others’ feet.[/td_text_with_title]

    Buy the Book

    Dream’s Journey is a limited edition, and it can be purchased directly through Bruce Callow Consulting in Costa Rica. To coordinate an order, email Callow at [email protected]; the book costs ¢14,000.

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