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NASA Astronaut pays visit to UMPI

Thursday, 05 February 2009

Campus and community members will learn all about journeying to the stars when the University hosts a NASA astronaut and space shuttle commander in March as part of its Distinguished Lecturer Series.

Pamela Melroy (Colonel, USAF, retired) has served as a NASA astronaut since 1995 and has participated in three space flights, logging more than 900 hours (more than 38 days) in space and helping to conduct important assembly work for the International Space Station. She will speak on "Human Spaceflight-Shuttle, International Space Station and Beyond" at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 9 in the Campus Center. All are encouraged to attend. During her visit to Maine, Melroy will speak with students at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics and at a school in Mars Hill. On the LCS/MSSM campus, she will speak at 11 a.m. on March 9 in Boothby Auditorium.

Melroy completed a 13-day flight in 2000 aboard the space shuttle Discovery, a 10-day flight in 2002 aboard Atlantis, and a 15-day flight, on which she served as shuttle commander, in 2007, again on the space shuttle Discovery. On her 2000 and 2002 flights, she served as the shuttle pilot. She will speak about her missions, her work as commander of a shuttle, and spacewalking, robotics and living in space.

Melroy graduated from Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, NY, in 1979. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in physics and astronomy from Wellesley College in 1983 and her Master of Science degree in earth & planetary sciences from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984.

She was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program in 1983. After completing her master's degree, she attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas and was graduated in 1985. She flew the KC-10 for six years at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana, as a co-pilot, aircraft commander and instructor pilot.

Melroy is a veteran of Just Cause and Desert Shield/Desert Storm, with over 200 combat and combat support hours. In June 1991, she attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Upon her graduation, she was assigned to the C-17 Combined Test Force, where she served as a test pilot until her selection for the astronaut program in 1994. Following training and evaluation, she was assigned astronaut support duties for launch and landing and worked on Advanced Projects for the Astronaut Office. She later served on the Columbia Reconstruction Team as the lead for the crew module. She retired from the Air Force in February 2007.

Melroy has logged over 5,000 hours of flight time in over 50 different aircraft and has received several medals for her service. She is the recipient of the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster; Air Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster; Aerial Achievement Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster; and Expeditionary Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster.

The University's Distinguished Lecture Series was established in 1999. Each year, the UDLS Committee sponsors five to six speakers who come from Maine and other states representing a range of disciplines and viewpoints. While the emphasis tends to be on featuring visiting academics it is not exclusively so. The speakers typically spend two days at the University meeting with classes and presenting a community lecture.

For more information about Melroy's visit, contact the Media Relations Office at 768-9452.