Former Space Shuttle astronaut and author Mike Mullane will speak about his experiences in space travel on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Burruss Hall Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Selected by NASA as a mission specialist in 1978 in the first group of Space Shuttle astronauts, Mullane completed three missions — one aboard Discovery and two aboard Atlantis — for a total of 356 hours in space. He retired from NASA in 1990 and has been inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame.

A talented author as well as a Space Shuttle pioneer, Mullane wrote an award-winning children’s book, "Liftoff! An Astronaut’s Dream," and a popular space-fact book, "Do Your Ears Pop in Space?"

His most recent book, "Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut," was published by Simon & Schuster in 2006 and has been reviewed in the New York Times and on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

A West Point graduate, Mullane was commissioned by the Air Force in 1967 and flew 134 combat missions in Vietnam as a weapon systems operator aboard RF-4C Phantom aircraft. He completed a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology and graduated from the Air Force Flight Test Engineer School at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Mullane, who retired from the Air Force in 1990 with the rank of colonel, has received a number of honors during his career, including the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, and the NASA Space Flight Medal.

While visiting Virginia Tech, Mullane also will hold a seminar for undergraduate engineering students and will meet with members of the Corps of Cadets.

Mullane’s appearance is the third in the Engineering Excellence in the 21st Century series, sponsored by Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering and the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM).

Funding and support for the lecture series is provided by Performance Associates Inc., a firm owned by ESM alumnus H. Pat Artis and his wife, Nancy. Previous speakers include Brian Binnie, who flew the history-making civilian spacecraft SpaceShipOne, and Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Co. (SpaceX).


Share this story