Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Space Shuttle To Downlink To Cookeville

Tennessee Tech University alumni and students, and K-12 students from across the Upper Cumberland region will have an opportunity on Sunday to talk with NASA Astronaut Barry Wilmore, a TTU graduate, during a live videoconference from the International Space Station. The 30-minute downlink will be broadcast Sunday morning on Cookeville's public television station. And officials say that as Wilmore works aboard the space station after piloting the Space Shuttle Atlantis, he follows a long line of TTU alumni and Upper Cumberland natives who have gone on to work for NASA and in the aerospace industry. Roger Crouch was TTU's first alumnus to travel into space. The Jamestown native served as a payload specialist on two flights aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 and took with him a TTU pennant and replica of the university seal. On both of Crouch's missions, two TTU alumni served in direct support positions on the ground - Teresa Vanhooser as mission manager and Mike Robinson as mission scientist. And eight years before Crouch's missions, in 1989, Michael McCulley of Livingston flew aboard the same Shuttle Atlantis that Barry Wilmore is piloting on this mission. McCulley is a member of TTU's Millard Oakley STEM Center advisory board.