Purdue Graduates to be inducted into the 2008 class U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
Of the four astronauts will be inducted this year, two are Purdue graduates and include the third American to live aboard the Russian Mir Space Station, John Blaha MSAE '66 and Vice President of Engineering and Integration Chief Technology Office at United Space Alliance and Commander of the mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope, Loren Shriver MSAE '68.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which will host a gala on May 2 celebrating the 2008 class, oversaw the selection of the voting committee and induction process. The committee chose the 2008 inductees based on their achievement during their spaceflights as well as how they contributed to the U.S. space program in other activities.
The 2008 class is the seventh group of shuttle astronauts to be named to the Hall since 2001.
John Blaha became an astronaut in 1980 and over the span of 17 years flew on five space shuttle missions and one long-duration space station flight.
Blaha launched on his fifth and final mission on STS-79, which docked to the Russian Mir Space Station. The third American to live on the outpost, he then set the then-U.S. men's record for time in space during his four months on orbit.
Blaha also served on several NASA panels, including chairing the NASA Flight Safety Panel. He led the design, development and integration of the shuttle's heads-up display system and the abort procedures that significantly improved crew survivability in the event of multiple main engine failures during launch.
Blaha retired from NASA in 1997 to return to his home town of San Antonio, TX, where he joined the Executive Management Group of the United Services Automobile Organization.
Loren J. Shriver (Colonel, USAF, Ret.)
Loren Shriver was selected as an astronaut with the first class of shuttle astronauts in 1978.
Shriver's last spaceflight was on STS-46, deploying the European Retrievable Carrier satellite, a European Space Agency-sponsored free-flying science platform, and performing the first test of the Tethered Satellite System, a joint project between the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and NASA.