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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, met with Joseph M. Acaba, the first NASA astronaut of Puerto Rican heritage.

Acaba was born to Puerto Rican parents in Inglewood, California. After serving several years in the Peace Corps and Marine Corps Reserves, Acaba went on to teach middle school and high school in Florida while continuing to serve as a specialist in the field of geology. In May 2004, Acaba was selected as a mission specialist-educator (MS-E) astronaut by NASA. He was the first Hispanic of Puerto Rican heritage in space and has logged 138 days in space during his two missions. Acaba is one of three MS-E astronauts in his class; these teachers turned astronauts work to ensure that we have a next generation inspired to explore.

“Joseph Acaba is an inspiring American success story,” said Rubio. “We all must look to and learn from engaged educators like Joseph Acaba who work every day in mentoring young people and leading them on the right path. These educators, coaches and community leaders inspire our children to work hard, seize educational opportunities and prepare for the 21st century knowledge economy.” 

12.5.2012 Rubio and Acaba 1

12.5.2012 Rubio and Acaba 2

12.5.2012 Rubio and Acaba 3

High-resolution photographs of Rubio’s meeting with NASA’s Joseph Acaba are available here.

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