Grad preparing for space flight Print
Monday, 19 October 2009 10:41


Photo courtesy of NASA
The crew of the space shuttle Atlantis will arrive at Kennedy Space Center today for launch training—big news for The Citadel whose tie to the STS-129 mission is with U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Randy Bresnik, class of 1989, one of the six astronauts preparing for Nov. 12 liftoff.


Bresnik, a member of Band Company, commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps after graduation in 1989.  As a Marine, he gained wide-ranging experience in complex aircraft, first by attending flight school and being selected to fly jets, then by attending TOPGUN and Test Pilot School, flying F/A-18s and various test aircraft and ultimately logging more than 4,500 hours in 79 different aircraft.


His substantial flight knowledge and experience uniquely qualified him to enter NASA's 2004 astronaut class.  One of only 11 candidates—and one of only two test pilots—chosen by NASA, he represented his service branch as the only Marine Corps officer in the 19th group of astronauts selected since 1959, and the first since the Columbia tragedy in 2003.  He has since spent his time training to pilot and land the space shuttle, manipulating the robotic arm, and learning to spacewalk in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab.


As a part of the mission on the Atlantis, Bresnik and his crew will deliver two express logistics carriers to the International Space Station, take part in three spacewalks, and return NASA Astronaut Nicole Stott to Earth.