Whitman helped launch career, says NASA astronaut who will give Baccalaureate talk
Monday, May 10, 2010
A Whitman College alumna who reached for the stars and recently made it all the way to the International Space Station, 200 miles above the Earth, will speak at Baccalaureate on May 22.
NASA astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger ’97 will give a talk titled “Growing up in a Wheatfield.”
She will share how her life “was influenced by a small town in Washington State, and where the core values I learned from my parents and from Whitman have taken me since graduation.”
Metcalf-Lindenburger and the rest of the seven-member crew on NASA’s shuttle Discovery landed softly April 20 on Kennedy Space Center’s Runway 33 after a two-week mission.
It was reportedly a picture-perfect ending to the successful STS-131 mission that restocked the International Space Station with about 7.6 tons of new science equipment and spare parts that included equipment intended to improve the station’s capability for Earth observation work and help keep the station’s systems cooling properly.
One of Metcalf-Lindenburger’s most important responsibilities was the operation of a robotic arm and sensor used to detect any damage to the shuttle’s tiles, its thermal protection system. She was also the communications link between NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston and astronauts Clay Anderson and Rick Mastracchio during their space walks outside the International Space Station.
Her husband, history teacher Jason Metcalf-Lindenburger ’99, said recently he was happy she had the opportunity for adventure on the recent shuttle mission. “But I’m happy to have her back on Earth.”
He and their daughter, Cambria, will join her for the Baccalaureate.