Jet Propulsion Laboratory researcher Dr. Eugene H. Trinh has been selected as an astronaut to fly on the Space Shuttle in June 1992, NASA has announced.
Trinh will serve as a payload specialist on the first U.S. Microgravity Laboratory mission, to be flown on the shuttle Columbia in mission STS-50. Part of NASA's Spacelab program, the mission will study the behavior of materials, fluids and biological processes in space.
During the shuttle mission Trinh will conduct several investigations in the Drop Physics Module, an experiment package managed by JPL. He will also operate the Surface Tension Driven Convection Experiment, an instrument built at NASA's Lewis Research Center.
The 40-year-old scientist previously was an alternate payload specialist for Spacelab 3, a microgravity mission which flew aboard the shuttle in 1985. As an alternate, he served as a back-up to then-JPL researcher Dr. Taylor Wang, who flew as a payload specialist.
Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Trinh grew up in Paris before coming to the United States to attend college. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering-applied physics from Columbia University, as well as a master's degree and doctorate in applied physics from Yale University.
The holder of six patents, Trinh specializes in studies involving physical acoustics, fluid dynamics and containerless materials processing.
In addition to his research work on the ground, Trinh has developed and operated a number of low-gravity experimental apparatuses tested in NASA's KC-135 plane. Since 1983 he has accumulated about 25 hours of time in a near-weightless state of 0.05 G.
Trinh and his wife, Yvette, reside in Culver City.
NASA announced Trinh's selection along with that of Dr. Lawrence J. DeLucas of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who will work with him and the shuttle crew's mission specialists in conducting more than 30 experiments during the 13-day mission.
The two newly named payload specialists will join shuttle commander Richard N. Richards, pilot John H. Casper and mission specialists Bonnie J. Dunbar, Kenneth D. Bowersox and Carl J. Meade, previously announced for the crew.
JPL's Drop Physics Module was designed and built for the laboratory by Loral Electro-optical Systems of Pasadena, California. The U.S. Microgravity Laboratory series is managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Note to Editors: A color photograph of Dr. Trinh is available from the JPL Public Information Office.
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