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Apollo 13 Astronaut Speaks at Purdue

James Lovell, commander of the Apollo 13 space mission, spoke at Purdue on October 22, 2009. Lovell was on campus to present a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) to West Lafayette native Yuri Kubo, a graduate student majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Selected as a NASA astronaut in 1962, Lovell flew in space four times, logging more than 715 hours. He piloted the Gemini 7 flight; commanded Gemini 12; and orbited the moon on Apollo 8, the first flight around the moon. He is best known for commanding Apollo 13, the third lunar landing attempt, which was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded en route to the moon.

He retired in 1973 and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1993. He is the author of "Lost Moon."

Lovell was chairman and president of ASF from 1997 to 2005. ASF is a nonprofit organization established by the Mercury astronauts in 1984. It has awarded $2.8 million to date to outstanding college students majoring in science, engineering or math, including $147,000 to Purdue students. The recipients - 18 this year - are chosen for demonstrating motivation, imagination and intellectual daring, as well as exceptional performance in and out of the classroom.

Kubo interned at NASA's Johnson Space Center in 2006, 2007 and 2008, working on communications and control equipment for the International Space Station. He has patents pending for a radio frequency identification dog door and a bed-lowering device activated by an alarm clock. He hopes to become an astronaut.

The goal of ASF is to help the United States retain its leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for students pursuing degrees in these fields. More than 80 astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined the endeavor. More information is available at