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U.S. Information Agency
   
 
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During FY 1998, the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) provided regular coverage of NASA-related events in its news services, the print-based Washington File, the Voice of America's news broadcasts, and WORLDNET Television's Newsfile. Other feature stories and thematic programs, often presented in local languages, carried accounts of NASA and related topics, to all regions of the world. For example, WORLDNET Television's Newsfile series carried a total of 43 NASA-related stories during the last fiscal year, with topics ranging from the Mir spacewalk to updates on the Mars Pathfinder project.

NASA officials and astronauts routinely make themselves available for USIA programs. NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin participated in U.S. Information Service (USIS)—as USIA is known abroad—programs in Germany, France, and Italy, in which he highlighted cooperation with each of those countries. He discussed the ISS, continued cooperation with the Russians, and NASA's vision for the 21st century.

One program offered a USIS Singapore-arranged interview with astronaut Guy Gardner for the local television network. Another program had USIS Italy-arranged coverage on Italian television of a visit by all seven of the STS-84 astronauts as they worked with Italian public and private partners on a project to support space education in Italy. The day after the astronauts arrived, the Italian government announced its approval of an expanded multibillion-dollar 5-year program of research and development in space exploration, which will make the Italian Space Agency one of NASA's leading international partners. A WORLDNET "Window on America" segment featured a Ukrainian astronaut in training for an upcoming Space Shuttle mission.

In FY 1998, the WORLDNET service broadcast nine interactive dialogs, among them a call-in program in Spanish, in which callers from around Latin America were able to speak with two Spanish-speaking NASA officials on NASA's future projects. A program titled "Space Exploration and Technology Transfer" in English and Arabic featured Robert Dotts, Assistant Director of the Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office at the Johnson Space Center, for viewers throughout the Middle East.

USIS San José hosted an important WORLDNET interactive dialog with Costa Rica's national hero, astronaut Franklin Chang-Díaz, during his sixth mission in space. Costa Rican-born Chang-Díaz maintains strong ties to his native country and spends a good part of each year conducting environmental and tropical disease research at an internationally renowned center in Costa Rica. In June 1998, USIS San José linked Chang-Díaz in space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery with the remote research center in Costa Rica and also with Costa Rican President Miguel Rodriguez, then in New York for a United Nations meeting.

USIA also continued to make information on NASA activities available on its World Wide Web sites. These sites maintain links to NASA's home page and its daily space photograph.

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