Queen's alumnus blasts off into space
Queen’s alumnus Andrew (“Drew”) Feustel, PhD’95, is a member of the six-man crew that blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center this morning on space shuttle Endeavour’s final flight.
The 14-day mission is the second trip into space for the 45-year-old native of Lake Orion, Michigan, who has been in training continually during his 11-year NASA career.
“An astronaut is always learning new skills and honing existing ones,” says Dr. Feustel, who specialized in seismology when he earned his doctorate in Geological Sciences. He spent three years in the Engineering Seismology Group at Queen’s installing and operating micro-seismic monitoring equipment in mines. He moved on in 1997 to a job with Exxon Mobil Exploration in Houston, Texas, and then signed on with NASA in 2000.
Dr. Feustel’s first mission was as a space-walking member of the crew of the shuttle Atlantis on a May 2009 mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
While in space, Dr. Feustel plans to wear a new white t-shirt with a Queen’s crest emblazoned across the chest, a gift from his alma mater.
“I’ll be the only person aboard the ISS ever to wear one of those,” he says with a laugh.
This will be the second time Drew has carried Queen’s paraphernalia into space. He packed a Tricolour banner on his 2009 shuttle mission. If all goes well, Drew will personally return both the banner and his t-shirt to campus for display sometime later this year or early in 2012.