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Higher Education
Texas A&M University at Galveston
News Release
Saturday, June 17, 2017

The return to the Space Coast of Florida brings back memories for Texas A&M Galveston’s COO and former astronaut Mike Fossum

Col. Mike E. Fossum, chief operating officer of the Texas A&M University at Galveston and a former astronaut who flew on three missions aboard the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station, returned to the Space Coast of Florida last week.  The university’s training ship, the General Rudder, sailed into Port Canaveral with 50 cadets from the Texas A&M Maritime Academy as part of their training cruise.  Col. Fossum was there to meet the ship and take the cadets on a tour of the Kennedy Space Center and once again visit the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Col. Robert D. Cabana, director of the Kennedy Space Center greeted the cadets and gave them a tour of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit.  Col. Fossum then led a personal tour of the Space Center exhibits, sharing his personal experiences.

“I was onboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2011 during the last Space Shuttle mission which was aboard the shuttle Atlantis,” said Col. Fossum.  “While Atlantis was docked to the ISS, I performed a spacewalk in her payload bay.  When Atlantis departed the ISS, I took photos as the ship backed slowly away.  I wanted to record images of the historic departure of the last flying Space Shuttle.”

“Two days later, looking down at the earth from a window of the ISS, I captured an image of her glowing plasma trail in the night sky over the Yucatan as she streaked toward a pre-dawn landing at Cape Canaveral.  Last week’s visit was my first time to see Atlantis since that day 6 years ago.  It was a thrill to share the visit with the cadets and staff of the T/S General Rudder.”

This was the first time the General Rudder had docked at the port.  As is the custom, the ship’s captain, Justin Pierson, Col. Fossum and RADM Mike Rodriguez, superintendent of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, were presented with a plaque commemorating the ship’s maiden docking at the port from Port Director and CEO, Capt. John Murray and Vice-Chairman of the Port Commission, Wayne Justice.

In the first photo: Cadets with Col. Michael Fossum, chief operating office at Texas A&M Galveston and Col. Robert D. Cabana, director of the Kennedy Space Center

In the second photo: Col. Robert D. Cabana, director of the Kennedy Space Center talks to cadets next to shuttle




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