NASA to Honor Gemini, Apollo Astronaut James Lovell Friday at PAXRVR Air Museum

WASHINGTON, March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/—NASA will honor astronaut James "Jim" Lovell, Jr., with the presentation of an Ambassador of Exploration Award for his contributions to the U.S. space program. During a ceremony Friday, April 3, Lovell will accept the award at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum in Lexington Park, Md., and present it to the museum for display.

NASA is giving the Ambassador of Exploration Award to the first generation of explorers in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs for realizing America's goal of going to the moon. The award is a moon rock encased in Lucite, mounted for public display. The rock is part of the 842 pounds of lunar samples collected during six Apollo expeditions from 1969 to 1972.

Lovell was born in Cleveland and received his bachelor's degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1952. He spent four years as a test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center, now the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Lovell was the pilot for the Gemini 7 mission and the command pilot for Gemini 12. He and fellow crewmen, Frank Borman and William A. Anders, became the first humans to leave the Earth's gravitational influence and travel to the moon during the Apollo 8 mission in 1968. On Lovell's fourth mission, he was the commander of Apollo 13.

Beginning at noon Thursday, NASA Television will air a video file with highlights from Lovell's missions. For NASA TV schedule and streaming video information, visit .

For more information about the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum, visit .

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