Franklin Chang Díaz Birthday & Fun Facts

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Joan Agie
Feb 08, 2024 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Dec 01, 2023
A space suit, helmet, and other equipment on a platform with a space shuttle in the background
All ages
Read time: 4.0 Min

About Franklin Chang-Díaz

Franklin Ramón Chang-Díaz is a Costa Rican-American physicist, mechanical engineer, and former NASA astronaut. Franklin Chang-Díaz was selected by NASA in 1980 and became the first Latin American immigrant to become a NASA astronaut.

He is a veteran of seven space shuttle missions, during which he logged over 1,600 hours in space and conducted critical repairs on the Canadian ISS Robotic Arm. His work in space includes numerous scientific achievements, such as the deployment of the Galileo spacecraft that explored Jupiter.

After retiring from NASA in 2005, Chang-Díaz founded the Ad Astra Rocket Company, where he serves as CEO as of 2023. Chang-Díaz's contributions to space exploration have been recognized with numerous awards, including four of NASA's Distinguished Service Medals and induction into the US Astronaut Hall Of Fame.

Franklin Chang-Díaz: Net Worth, Earnings & Spending Habits

What is Franklin Chang-Díaz's net worth?

As of 2023, the exact details of Chang-Díaz's net worth are unavailable.

How much does Franklin Chang-Díaz earn per year?

Franklin Chang-Díaz's annual income is not explicitly stated in credible sources as of 2023.

Height, Age & Physical Attributes

How tall is Franklin Chang-Díaz?

As of 2023, Franklin Chang-Díaz's height is not specified in any credible source.

How old is Franklin Chang-Díaz?

Franklin Chang-Díaz was born on April 5, 1950. As of November 2023, Franklin Chang-Díaz is 73 years old.

Childhood And Education

Franklin Ramón Chang-Díaz was born in San José, Costa Rica, to a part-Chinese father named Ramón Ángel Chang Morales, and a Costa Rican mother named María Eugenia Díaz. He has five siblings, including a younger sister named Sonia Rosa.

Growing up during the Cold War era, he was captivated by space exploration and dreamt of becoming an astronaut. Despite not being a wealthy family, his parents encouraged him to pursue higher education. After completing high school in Costa Rica, he moved to the United States at the age of 18 to pursue his dream.

He faced language barriers and had to start high school again in the US, but with determination and hard work, he earned a scholarship to the University of Connecticut. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and later obtained a Ph.D. in applied plasma physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Family, Romance, And Relationships

Who is Franklin Chang Diaz's partner?

Franklin Chang-Díaz is married to Peggy Marguerite Doncaster. They got married in the United States on December 17, 1984, and they have two daughters, Lidia Aurora Chang-Díaz and Miranda Karina Chang-Díaz.

Prior to his marriage with Peggy Marguerite Doncaster, he was married to Candice Chang, with whom he has two daughters, Jean Elizabeth Chang-Díaz and Sonia Rosa Chang-Díaz, who is a member of the Massachusetts Senate.

Career And Professional Highlights

Best Known For…

Franklin Chang-Díaz's career progression is marked by significant achievements in space exploration and plasma physics. In 1980, NASA selected Chang-Díaz as an astronaut candidate, making him the first Latin American immigrant to become a NASA astronaut.

Chang-Díaz's first mission was aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in January 1986. He flew on seven space shuttle missions, logging more than 1,600 hours in space. His missions included numerous scientific achievements, such as the deployment of the Galileo spacecraft on its journey to explore Jupiter.

While at MIT, Chang-Díaz contributed to the United States-controlled fusion program and the design and operation of fusion reactors. He also led the plasma propulsion program at the MIT Plasma Fusion Center as a visiting scientist, intending to develop this technology for future human missions to Mars.

In 1994, Chang-Díaz established NASA's Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center, leading a team in the development of plasma rocket technology. On his final mission, STS-111 in 2002, he completed three spacewalks for the construction of the International Space Station.

After retiring from NASA in 2005, Chang-Díaz founded the Ad Astra Rocket Company to continue his work on the VASIMR® plasma engine, a sustainable, high-power engine for space travel. His work has bridged the gap between the astronaut corps and the scientific community, proving that a formally trained scientific mind can coexist with military discipline.

What awards has Franklin Chang-Díaz won?

Franklin Chang-Díaz won the Medal Of Liberty in 1986, which he was one of twelve recipients to receive. He was also inducted into the NASA Astronaut Hall Of Fame on May 5, 2012. He was awarded the Buzz Aldrin Quadrennial Space Award by The Explorers Club in 2014, and The Liberty Medal from President Ronald Reagan at the Statue Of Liberty Centennial Celebration in New York City.

He is also a four-time recipient of NASA's Distinguished Service Medal, the agency’s highest honor. He was awarded the Wyld Propulsion Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Flight Achievement Award from the American Astronautical Society, the Cross Of The Venezuelan Air Force from President Jaime Lusinchi, and the Medal Of Excellence from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Chang-Díaz was also named an Honorary Citizen by the Government of Costa Rica.

Franklin Chang-Díaz's Hobbies And Interests

Franklin Chang-Díaz's interests include music, soccer, glider planes, hunting, scuba diving, and hiking.

Franklin Chang Díaz Birthday & Fun Facts Facts

Birth Name

Franklin Chang Díaz

Date of Birth

1950-04-05

Nationality

American

Place of Birth

San José

Age

Height

0 cm

Child Star?

No

Occupation

Astronaut, Engineer, Physicist

Education

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Partner

Peggy Marguerite Doncaster

Parents

Maria Eugenia Daz Romero, Ramón Angel Chang Morales

Siblings

Ronald Chang, Sonia Rosa Chang-Díaz
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

Sources

www.aiche.orgwww.nasa.govwww.whartoncostarica07.comwww.aiaa.orgwww.nasa.govstarchild.gsfc.nasa.govwww.nasa.goven.geneastar.orgwww.aps.orgairandspace.si.eduen.wikipedia.orgwww.britannica.comwww.spacefacts.de

See All

Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

Read full bio >
Read the DisclaimerFact Correction