16 April, 2017

HONEYWELL to Connect UAE students and educators with space industry veterans

HONEYWELL to Connect UAE students and educators with space industry veterans

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 16, 2017 Honeywell (NYSE: HON) will host engagement sessions with two space industry veterans at Think Science Connect 2017 taking place at the Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC) April 18-20. Retired NASA astronaut Don Thomas, who orbited Earth almost 700 times as a veteran of four NASA Space Shuttle missions, will engage with students and teachers, and take

NASA astronaut Don Thomas and U.S. Space & Rocket Center CEO Dr. Deborah Barnhart to share first-hand knowledge of space training and exploration

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 16, 2017 

Honeywell (NYSE: HON) will host engagement sessions with two space industry veterans at Think Science Connect 2017 taking place at the Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC) April 18-20. Retired NASA astronaut Don Thomas, who orbited Earth almost 700 times as a veteran of four NASA Space Shuttle missions, will engage with students and teachers, and take questions alongside Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) affiliated to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, USA.

As a Think Science sponsor and global software-industrial company with involvement in most major space missions and satellite projects since the beginning of the space age, Honeywell is hosting the sessions as part of efforts to help inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

Think Science Connect 2017, which is spearheaded by Emirates Foundation, is a national program that strives to empower Emiratis to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields. Its aim is to nurture a culture of scientific thinking whilst helping to grow the next generation of technology pioneers in the country. The fair will also provide the opportunity for hundreds of youth participating in the Think Science Competition to showcase their innovations to thousands of visitors, parents, investors, and stakeholders.

Honeywell is committed to supporting the UAE government in its quest to stimulate innovation and achieve a high-tech future for the country as part of its seven-year National Innovation Strategy plan. Within the strategy, ‘space’ is highlighted as a key pillar of importance. It also comes as part of a wider UAE movement towards developing a knowledge-based economy and improving capabilities and skills. 


About Dr. Don A. Thomas (Ph.D.), NASA ASTRONAUT (FORMER)
Following graduation from Cornell University in 1982, Dr. Thomas joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey, developing advanced materials and processes for high density interconnections of semiconductor devices. He left AT&T in 1987 to work for Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Company in Houston, Texas, where his responsibilities involved reviewing materials used in Space Shuttle payloads. In 1988 he joined NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center as a Materials Engineer. His work involved lifetime projections of advanced composite materials for use on Space Station Freedom. He was also a Principal Investigator for the Microgravity Disturbances Experiment, a middeck crystal growth experiment which flew on STS-32 in January 1990. This experiment investigated the effects of Orbiter and crew-induced disturbances on the growth of crystals in space.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Thomas became an astronaut in July 1991. Dr. Thomas has served in the Safety, Operations Development, and Payloads Branches of the Astronaut Office. He was CAPCOM (spacecraft communicator) for Shuttle missions STS-47, 52 and 53. From July 1999 to June 2000 he was Director of Operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. A veteran of four space flights, he has logged over 1,040 hours in space. He was a mission specialist on STS-65 (July 8-23, 1994), STS-70 (July 13-22, 1995), STS-83 (April 4-8, 1997) and STS-94 (July 1-17, 1997). Initially assigned to the ISS Expedition-6 crew, his flight assignment withdrawal resulted from a medical issue affecting long duration space flight qualifications. In his last assignment he served as the International Space Station Program Scientist overseeing NASA experiments performed on the ISS. Dr. Thomas retired from NASA in July 2007 in order to pursue private interests.

He is a private pilot with over 250 hours in single engine land aircraft and gliders, and over 800 hours flying as mission specialist in NASA T-38 jet aircraft.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-65 Columbia (July 8-23, 1994) set a new flight duration record for the Space Shuttle program. The mission flew the second International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-2). During the 15-day flight the crew conducted more than 80 experiments focusing on materials and life sciences research in microgravity. The mission was accomplished in 236 orbits of the Earth, traveling 6.1 million miles in 353 hours and 55 minutes.

STS-70 Discovery (July 13-22, 1995). During the STS-70 mission, Dr. Thomas was responsible for the deployment of the sixth and final Tracking and Data Relay Satellite from the Space Shuttle. Mission duration was 214 hours and 20 minutes, traveling 3.7 million miles in 142 orbits of the Earth.

STS-83 Columbia (April 4-8, 1997). The STS-83 Microgravity Science Laboratory ( MSL-1) Spacelab mission, was cut short because of problems with one of the Shuttle’s three fuel cell power generation units. Mission duration was 95 hours and 12 minutes, traveling 1.5 million miles in 63 orbits of the Earth.

STS-94 Columbia (July 1-17, 1997), was a re-flight of the Microgravity Science Laboratory ( MSL-1) Spacelab mission, and focused on materials and combustion science research in microgravity. Mission duration was 376 hours and 45 minutes, traveling 6.3 million miles in 251 orbits of the Earth.

About Dr. Deborah E. Barnhart, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC)
Dr. Barnhart became the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in December 2010.  The Center is the official Visitor Center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian, and the showcase for Redstone Arsenal and defense programs, including energy.  Home to the world renowned U.S. Space Camp®, U.S. Space Academy®, Aviation Challenge®, and Robotics Camp, the Center is Alabama’s leading tourist attraction.

Dr. Barnhart’s career spans three decades of service in commercial industry, government, aerospace and defense.  A retired Navy Captain (0‐6), she was one of the first ten women assigned to duty aboard ships and commanded five units in her 26 year career.  

She was Vice President of three Dow 30 aerospace and defense companies, serving in manufacturing, business development, program and research management, and congressional lobbying for Honeywell International, McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing), and United Technologies Aerospace.

In 2015, Dr. Barnhart was appointed to the Smithsonian Affiliations Advisory Council. She is a recipient of NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest form of recognition awarded by NASA to a non‐government individual. She is a member of the Board of Managers of the Air Force Museum Foundation and Trustee on the Board of the University of Alabama in Huntsville Foundation. She currently serves as Governor Robert Bentley’s appointee to the Alabama Space Authority Task Force. Dr. Barnhart earned her doctorate at Vanderbilt University, holds degrees from the University of Maryland, the University of Alabama Huntsville, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was a Sloan Fellow.  She resides in Huntsville, Alabama and Clearwater Beach, Florida.

About Honeywell
Honeywell ( is a Fortune 100 software-industrial company that delivers industry specific solutions that include aerospace and automotive products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes, and industry; and performance materials globally.  Our technologies help everything from aircraft, cars, homes and buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable.  For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit

Honeywell Hometown Solutions is the company's corporate citizenship initiative, which focuses on five areas of vital importance: Science & Math Education, Family Safety & Security, Housing & Shelter, Habitat & Conservation, and Humanitarian Relief. Together with leading public and non-profit institutions, Honeywell has developed powerful programs to address these needs in the communities it serves. For more information, please visit

About Emirates Foundation 
Emirates Foundation was launched in April 2005 as an initiative of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It is chaired by HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In 2012, the Emirates Foundation was re-launched under the name “Emirates Foundation for Youth Development” as an integrated national initiative that seeks to invest in UAE youth. The new strategy uses the model venture philanthropy with a view to impacting the lives of young people in the UAE positively and permanently. To achieve this, the Foundation will work in three key focus areas: social inclusion; community engagement; and leadership and empowerment. It will seek to identify, educate and inform the public about challenges facing UAE youth while developing sustainable, enterprise-based solutions to social issues and motivating young Emiratis to volunteer, participate and give back to society.

Emirates Foundation works to enhance partnerships between private and public sectors, in order to develop sustainable ways of helping young people in the UAE make an active contribution to the country’s development. EF is funded through contributions from the Abu Dhabi government and private sector companies.

Emirates Foundation THINK SCIENCE Program:
Think Science program empowers youth and nurtures their interest to innovate in science.  Set up in 2012, in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Education and Abu Dhabi Education Council, in response to respond to market needs of Emirati youth to choose STEM as an academic or professional path to help build a sustainable knowledge based economy

Think Science aims to:

  • Sparks Emirati youth’s interest in science & technology
  • Encourage youth to study and pursue careers in science & technology.

Think Science is delivered through three main components:

  1. Think Science Competition; set up to explore scientific talents in UAE and seek to encourage creativity and innovation, with an ultimate goal of attracting more youth to work in various fields of science. The opportunity to participate in the competition is open for a three-month period (July – End of October) within the year, to young people aged between 15 and 35 from across UAE, to design science-based innovations that address existing challenge in their communities and compete at the annual Think Science Fair.
  2. Think Science Connect; a strategic platform linking youth with leading private sector companies and institutions specialized in science and technology, to learn about potential career opportunities and explore projects’ incubational opportunities. This event is held in conjunction with the Think Science Competition at the annual national Think Science Fair.
  3. Think Science Ambassadors; a platform that inspires and empowers outstanding youth, who had previously participated in the Think Science Competition, and enhances their ability to address technological issues, through providing them with opportunities to participate in local, regional, and global platforms and competitions.

© Press Release 2017