Purdue Space Day 2007

A trip to the final frontier demands that astronauts are made of the "Right Stuff." Sitting atop 2,000 tons of high octane explosives waiting for the countdown and liftoff, can only be contemplated by the men and women whose "Right Stuff" is beyond question.

The Right Stuff was fully demonstrated on November 3, 2007 by astronaut Charles D. Walker BSAAE’71, OAE’99, when he headlined the 12th annual Purdue Space Day on the West Lafayette campus.

Over 450 school students in grades 3-8 from 4 states listed to Walker as he chronicled the past, explained the present and made students think about the future.

Walker has participated in NASA’s two largest space programs of the past few decades, the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.  He also made early contributions to the Constellation space exploration program to return mankind to the Moon and later to Mars.

Walker has worked in aerospace industry since 1977 most recently in the Boeing Company’s government relations office, Washington, D.C. As the first Purdue astronaut to launch in a space shuttle in 1984, he flew aboard three NASA Space Shuttle missions in the mid-1980s as the first industry-sponsored engineer and researcher, becoming the first private astronaut in space.

Walker was Mission Specialist on STS 41-D; 51-D; 61-B, and clocked up an impressive total of accumulating 20 days of experience in space and traveling 8.2 million miles. His activities as payload specialist astronaut on those missions included low-gravity purification of biomedical materials and research into protein crystal growth.  He has been involved in research, engineering design, development and operations planning, business development, marketing, and advocacy through industry, NASA and other government, academic and private organizations. 

 The students then took part in 3 separate age related hands on activities which were all related to STEM. Charlie Walker was and enthusiastic participant and was tireless to talking to both the younger students and the older Purdue students. The day was run by 169 Purdue students from 48 majors.  By the end of the day, Charlie Walker has inspired a whole new generation to explore the final frontier.

Photo~ Charlie Walker surrounded by Purdue Space Day Crew