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It Takes A Rocket Scientist

Kelly Beck - Flight Director for the STS-117 mission.
by Staff Writers
St. Louis MO (SPX) Jun 05, 2007
A graduate of Saint Louis University will serve as the flight director for NASA's first space shuttle mission of 2007. Kelly Beck, a native of Cahokia, Ill., and a 1988 graduate of SLU's Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, will oversee the flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station.

Atlantis is targeted for launch at 6:38 p.m. (CDT) Friday, June 8. During the 11-day mission, construction work continues on the space station. The shuttle also will bring a new crew member to begin a five-month stay and will return home with a station resident who has been in orbit since December. At least three spacewalks will be conducted during Atlantis' flight.

Beck will lead a team of flight directors, flight controllers, support personnel and engineering experts who will staff mission control in Houston 24/7 during the mission.

"By being selected to lead this historic mission, Beck exemplifies the high-caliber graduates Parks College has produced during the last 80 years," said Manoj Patankar, Ph.D., dean of Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology. "We will be watching the Atlantis mission with great personal interest."

Beck earned her bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from SLU in 1988. She graduated summa cum laude.

"It gives the faculty and staff in the department great pride and satisfaction to see that one of their graduates has risen to the level of such high technical responsibility," said K. Ravindra, Ph.D., chairman of the department of aerospace and mechanical engineering.

Beck is the second Saint Louis University grad to oversee a NASA mission. One of SLU's most famous alumni is Gene Kranz, NASA's mission control commander when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. The 1954 graduate, known for his "failure is not an option" motto, led the team that saved the Apollo 13 astronauts after an explosion crippled their ship in space (retold in the Oscar-winning film Apollo 13).

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Spacewalkers Install Debris Panels
Houston TX (SPX) Jun 01, 2007
Two International Space Station cosmonauts successfully completed a 5-hour, 25-minute spacewalk from the Pirs docking compartment airlock Wednesday, installing Service Module Debris Protection (SMDP) panels and rerouting a Global Positioning System antenna cable.

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