Purdue's 23rd astronaut heads to space Sunday

Another name will be enshrined in Purdue's 'Cradle of Astronauts' this weekend.

Posted: Dec 15, 2017 4:37 AM
Updated: Dec 15, 2017 10:00 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Another name will be enshrined in Purdue's 'Cradle of Astronauts' this weekend.

Scott Tingle will become Purdue's 23rd person in space. He is assigned to International Space Station Expeditions 54 and 55 set to launch Sunday from Kzakhstan. 

Tingle was selected in July of 2009 as a member of NASA's 20th astronaut class. He received his master's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1988.

Stephen Heister is the Raisbeck Engineering Distinguished Professor for Engineering and Technology Integration at Purdue. He has been good friends with Tingle for 30 years.

"We're all excited," said Heister. "The interesting thing about Scotty is that I met him in 1985 and on that day, he said 'I want to be an astronaut.' And to think...his vision is finally coming to reality 32 years later."

And Tingle's dream is also shared by current students at his alma mater.

"They're heroes for me," said Kshitij Mall, who has met Scott Tingle two times. "People like him have gone to space, and I am at the very same place. I think I'm very very lucky to be sharing the same space and facilities as them. Hopefully, I can do my small bit for humanity as well."

"We got to make a video to send him off to space," said Heister. "We went out in front of the Neil Armstrong statue as like a Buzz Lightyear sort of thing sending him 'to infinity and beyond.' So he will enjoy that."

Tingle will be in space for a few months. But when he makes landfall again, Purdue wants to see him. 

"He will have to do the circuit," said Heister. "He will owe us a visit."

Online streaming coverage begins at 1:15 a.m. Sunday with the launch scheduled for 2:20 a.m.

You can watch it here.

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