Thursday, June 26, 2003

Last spring, I caught astronaut Paul "Paco" Lockhart before he went on his first space flight (STS-111, June 2002, to the International Space Station). This flight was going to be the first to have Texas Exes as both the Commander (Ken "Taco" Cockrell, class of '72) and Pilot (Lockhart, class of '81). I had spoken to him before his flight about what kind of University of Texas stuff he was going to be bringing into space, and I mentioned I had a photograph of the Tower lit up with a "1" that I took in 1985 when I was a student there. I offered to give him the photo if he needed one.

Flash forward to June 2002, when he's getting ready to fly. We had both forgotten about the photo, and I didn't remember until the very day he left for KSC (a week before launch). I sent him an email about it, but it was too late. Fortunately, a couple of launch delays gave us enough extra time for me to give the photo to another astronaut who was going to be flying to KSC, and then it got passed to Paco and flew in space. Woohoo!

Seems while he was in space, he took photos of all the souvenirs that the crew flew for family and friends. Including mine. When he came back, not only did I get my photo back (complete with a postmark on the back that showed it had been to the ISS), but I also got an 8x10 photo of my photo in the shuttle's window with the Earth in the background.

How cool is that?

Among other places, we sent a copy to the University of Texas Department of Aerospace Engineering, where it was placed on the department's home page for the months of February and March, 2003.

Just thought I'd brag a bit about what a cool job I have.

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