Two more Purdue alumni, Janice Voss and Roy Bridges Jr. have donated personal papers to the Purdue Libraries Division of Archives and Special Collections.
The papers will join those of astronaut alumni Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, and Eugene Cernan, the most recent person to do so. Purdue President France A. Córdova announced the addition of the new materials on October 28th in the Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center.
Purdue alumni have taken part in nearly 35 percent of all manned U.S. space flights and they, along with Purdue, have played a defining role in space history. The papers will help cement Purdue's place in space and will serve future generations as a historical record and as an inspiration.
Voss earned her bachelor's degree in engineering science from Purdue in 1975. She was selected by NASA in 1990 and became an astronaut in 1991. She is a veteran of five space flights, the first of which was aboard the STS57 from June 21 to July 1, 1993. She later was part of space missions in 1995, two in 1997 and the last in 2000. The last mission was an 11-day flight during which the international crew aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour mapped more than 47 million square miles of the Earth's land surface.
Voss currently serves as payloads lead of the Astronaut Office Station Branch. She had previously been science director from 2004-07 for NASA's Kepler Space Observatory, launched to discover Earthlike planets orbiting other stars.
While on campus Voss also spoke to two sections of Women in Engineering seminar for first-year engineering students. "I hope that sharing my personal papers will help motivate the Purdue students following behind me, as taking classes in Grissom Hall did for me," Voss said. "Knowing that someone else got from here to there brightened many of my days at Purdue. Maybe my papers will help someone else feel that they aren't that different from me. If I can do it, then so can they."
Bridges earned a master's degree in astronautics from Purdue in 1966. He was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1980 and was the pilot aboard space shuttle Challenger in 1985. The journey was the first pallet-only Spacelab mission and the first to operate the Spacelab Instrument Pointing System. It carried 13 major experiments.
Bridges is a retired U.S. Air Force major general. He served from August 2003 to October 2005 as director of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and before that was director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center for more than six years. He also was commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.; for the Eastern Space and Missile Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.; and for the 412th Test wing at Edwards. He has received numerous honors, including most recently NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal and the Presidential Meritorious Award.
He is currently an executive with Northrop Grumman Technical Services. "I was at Purdue a pretty short time, but I've always felt that the university has treated me like I was there for years. So, I've always had a special place in my heart for Purdue," said Bridges, who received an honorary doctorate from Purdue in 2001. "I received a great education at Purdue. It's a great university, and I'm happy to be part of the Purdue family. I hope that my papers will help someone else achieve their goals in life."
The addition of the papers from Voss and Bridges will expand a rich and growing collection in Purdue Libraries' Division of Archives and Special Collections. The George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers - the world's largest compilation of papers, memorabilia and artifacts related to the late aviator - along with papers from 1930 graduate and aviation pioneer Ralph Johnson, also are housed there.
Photos L~R President France A. Córdova with Janice Voss and Roy Bridges at the presentation