Monday, December 1, 2008

NASA Astronaut Confirmed As Shorter’s December Commencement Speaker

NASA astronaut Stephanie D. Wilson will be the keynote speaker at Shorter College’s December 13 commencement ceremonies. The commencement exercises will be held at 10 a.m. and at 2 p.m. in the college’s Winthrop-King Centre.

Selected by NASA in 1996, Wilson has logged more than 28 days in space, and is a veteran of two space flights, one in 2006 and one in 2007.

In 2006, she was part of a return-to-flight test mission and assembly flight to the International Space Station. During the 13-day flight the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery tested new equipment and procedures that increase the safety of space shuttles, repaired a rail car on the International Space Station and produced never-before-seen, high-resolution images of the Shuttle during and after its July 4th launch. Wilson supported robotic arm operations for vehicle inspection, multi-purpose logistics module installation and EVAs and was responsible for the transfer of more than 28,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the ISS.

Her 2007 mission was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This flight was a crew rotation flight, delivering 16 new crewmembers and returning with a 15-crew member team. During the STS-120 mission, the Node 2 module named “Harmony” was delivered to the International Space Station. This element opened up the capability for future international laboratories to be added to the station. In addition, the P6 Solar Array was relocated from the Z1 Truss to the end of the port side of the Integrated Truss Structure. During the re-deploy of the array, the array panels snagged and were damaged. An unplanned spacewalk was successfully performed to repair the array.

A native of Massachusetts, Wilson graduated from Taconic High School in Pittsfield in 1984 and went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science degree from Harvard University in 1988. She later earned a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 1992. She is the cousin of Shorter graduate Sandra Terry (’88), who serves as assistant vice president for the college’s Professional Studies program.

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