Franklin Chang-Diaz was born in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1950 and emigrated with his family to Connecticut.
Chang-Diaz joined NASA's astronaut corps in 1981 and spent more than 1,600 in space during seven space shuttle missions. He is credited by NASA with improving relations between astronauts and the scientific community.
Chang-Davis graduted from high school in Hartford, Conn. and earned degrees in science, engineering and physics from the University of Connecticut and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Chang-Davis also has worked with a program to deinstitutionalize chronically ill mental patients, and he also worked with a rehabilitation program for Hispanic drug abusers.
In 1995, the government of Chile made him an honorary citizen. Chang-Davis became the first person to receive that honor who had been born in Chile.