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AE590 Seminar: Reach for the Stars

Event Type
Department of Aerospace Engineering
CIF 0027/1025 (Auditorium)
Feb 13, 2023   4:00 - 5:00 pm  
Captain Scott Altman (BS '81)
Courtney McLearin
Originating Calendar
Aerospace Engineering Seminars

Welcome and Introduction
Professor Michael Lembeck

Presentation of Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Recipients
Ethan Moore, Mechanical Science & Engineering
Justin Kao, Mechanical Engineering

Reach for the Stars
Growing up in the Midwest, Scott Altman’s earliest memories are dreams of flying and becoming a pilot. A key element in pursuing that dream was studying Engineering at the University of Illinois. That along with soloing at Willard was the foundation that led to flying fighters off aircraft carriers, flying in the movie Topgun and becoming at Navy test pilot. It also opened the door to NASA and enabled him to fly 4 shuttle missions, culminating in commanding Atlantis on the final Hubble servicing mission. Scott takes us on that journey, telling stories about his experiences and the roadblocks he encountered along the way. His talk includes stories about how Illinois enabled his career, performing test flights of the new F-14D and ultimately his time as an astronaut. He will also share the story of leading the astronaut office team during the investigation of the Columbia accident that took the life of three of his astronaut classmates along with four other good friends. He will share lessons learned about overcoming obstacles, creating high performing teams, and working together to accomplish what some thought was impossible, recovering from tragedy to show that we really can “Reach for the Stars!”

About the speaker: 
Scott Altman (BS '81) was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1995. His years spent as a Naval Captain led him to pilot his first two space shuttle missions and then serve as commander on his final two missions.

In 1998, he served as pilot on Columbia during STS-90, the Neurolab mission, which studied the effects of microgravity on the brain and human nervous system. Two years later, in 2000, he piloted Atlantis on STS - 106 during a 12-day mission to prepare the International Space Station for the arrival of the first permanent crew. His final two missions saw Altman command Columbia on STS-109, the fourth mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope and on STS-125, the fifth and final mission to service the telescope and extend its useful lifetime.

Altman received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois. He subsequently earned a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Altman is an accomplished fighter pilot, recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Navy Commendation Medal, and was 1987 award winner for outstanding achievement in Tactical Aviation, selected by the Association of Naval Aviation. Altman is also known for his aerial acrobatic flights in the movie Top Gun.

In total, Altman spent more than 51 days in space during his four missions before retiring from NASA in 2010 to join the ASRC Federal family of companies. 

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