CU Astronaut-Alum Steve Swanson To Carry CU Flag Into Space June 8

June 5, 2007

NASA astronaut and CU-Boulder alumnus Steve Swanson will be packing a black and gold CU flag sporting a Ralphie-the-Buffalo logo when the space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from Florida for the International Space Station on Friday, June 8.

Swanson will conduct a spacewalk and operate robotic arms on the space shuttle and the space station during the mission, which will include the delivery of a $372 million solar power module to the orbiting facility by the seven-person crew. Originally scheduled for launch in mid-March, the mission was delayed after a spring hailstorm at Kennedy Space Center severely damaged the foam insulation protecting the shuttle’s external fuel tank, requiring extensive repairs.

The Atlantis crew arrived at Kennedy Space Center Monday. Launch is scheduled for 5:38 p.m. MDT. Swanson will be the 17th CU-Boulder astronaut-alumnus to fly in space. To date, 16 CU-Boulder alumni have flown 38 missions.

Donated by the CU Bookstore, the 3-foot by 5-foot nylon CU flag will be given to the University of Colorado Heritage Center following Swanson’s shuttle flight. Located in Old Main, the CU Heritage Center currently has on display a variety of mementos from NASA space missions involving the university.

Swanson, who was born in Syracuse, N.Y., graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 1979 and received a bachelor’s of science degree in engineering physics from CU-Boulder in 1983. He was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in August 1998 and completed astronaut training a year later.

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