June 22, 2024 1:49 pm

Local News

An Alumnus Continuing Michigan’s History of Space Travel

Credit: iStock

Armand Jackson

NASA recently confirmed that the crew members who will fly aboard its SpaceX Crew-5 mission are nearly finished with their unique 18-month training program that is meant to prepare them for their travel to the International Space Station for a science expedition mission. SpaceX Crew-5 mission is targeted to launch no earlier than Sept. 29, 2022. This is all part of NASA and SpaceX’s fifth crew rotation mission of the human space transportation system to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Crew Program (CCP). Among the four members of this crew are the commander Nicole Mann; pilot Josh Cassada; mission specialist Koichi Wakata, of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency); and mission specialist Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. 

Captain Josh Cassada is a 1995 alumnus of the private Albion College, a private liberal arts college located in Calhoun County where he received his bachelor’s degree in physics. Cassada was selected by NASA back in 2013 as one of eight members of the 21st NASA astronaut class given his extensive academic career in researching physics as well as his professional history as a Navy instructor and test pilot, accumulating more than 4,000 flight hours in over 45 different aircraft and 23 combat missions. Cassada continues a legacy of space travelers being graduates from or members of Michigan higher education institutions.

David Scott, James Irwin, and Al Worden were the three man crew of the Apollo 15, the spacecraft that launched from the John F. Kennedy Space Center on July 26, 1971 and successfully completed the fourth human landing on the moon. All three of them attended University of Michigan. David Scott attended University of Michigan briefly before earning his Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy in 1954; James Irwin earned his Master of Science degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and Instrumentation Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1957; and Al Worden earned his Master of Science degrees in Astronautical/Aeronautical Engineering and Instrumentation Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1963 and awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science in Astronautical Engineering from University of Michigan in 1971.