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Citadel News Service
9 Nov 2009

Citadel graduate making his first trip into space

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Randy Bresnik is one of the six astronauts preparing for space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-129 mission to the International Space Station on Monday, Nov. 16. Bresnik, who graduated in 1989 from The Citadel, will carry a replica of the military college’s spirit flag Big Red with him on the flight.

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A member of Band Company, Bresnik commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps after graduation. 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 aircrafts.

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. Bresnik will take part in two of the three spacewalks.

Bresnik credits his Citadel experience for teaching him perseverance and leadership.

“To this date it was the hardest mental and physical challenge that I’ve come up against,” he said. “I didn’t know I could do it. After The Citadel I knew that I could do anything. The only limits you have are those that you place on yourself.”

Keep up with Bresnik's mission into space, see photos and learn more about him on The Citadel in Space Countdown Page. Click here.

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