110 new American citizens pose after their naturalization ceremony at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The July 1 ceremony, representing people originally from 36 nations, was the first such held at a NASA site.
Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann
It may seem like one small step for NASA, but it's one giant leap for more than 100 people making the jump to becoming U.S. citizens today.
For the first time ever, a naturalization ceremony for new Americans was held at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, launching ground of the space shuttles, just days before the U.S. Independence Day holiday on July 4.
"We're very proud to welcome 100-plus new Americans to citizenship here at the Kennedy Space Center," NASA spokesperson Allard Beutel told SPACE.com before the ceremony. "We've never had this at NASA before. It should be a pretty decent way to start the Independence Day holiday."
The ceremony, held at 9 a.m. EDT at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, was one of 55 ceremonies occurring across the country and around the world from July 1 through July 6. A total of about 3,800 new citizens, some of whom are U.S. service members, are being sworn in.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is hosting the events and conducting the Oath of Allegiance.
?"From our point of view, there's an obvious tie between America's space program and U.S. citizens," Beutel said. "This is a civilian space program ? it always has been and remains that way. Space exploration has always been a bridge between different nationalities."
- The Strange History of American Independence
- Gallery: 30 Years of Rare Space Shuttle Images
- POLL: Should NASA Retire the Space Shuttles?