June 20, 2016

Purdue items picked to go into space in 2017 mission with alumnus

Tingle Armstrong Armstrong: The Neil A. Armstrong Medal of Excellence will go into space with Purdue alumnus and NASA astronaut Scott Tingle during his 2017 mission to the International Space Station. (Purdue University) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue's newest astronaut will carry his university pride with him when he ventures into outer space next year.

Scott Tingle, Purdue's 23rd astronaut, will be aboard International Space Station Expeditions 53 and 54 beginning in September 2017. He will carry select Purdue items, including a special medal named after Purdue alumnus Neil A. Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon.

University officials as well as the College of Engineering, the School of Mechanical Engineering and Zucrow Laboratories, each decided upon items to send up with Tingle during his September 2017 mission to the International Space Station.

"Every day our students push the boundaries of their studies to new levels on campus," said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. "Seeing this latest astronaut alumnus take his Boiler Pride into space speaks to just how far a Purdue education can take you."

Tingle front Space placard front: A placard displaying the Purdue University College of Engineering emblem on the front is among the items Purdue alumnus and NASA astronaut Scott Tingle will take into space during his 2017 mission. (Purdue University) Download image

Tingle will carry the 1-1/2-pound Neil A. Armstrong Medal of Excellence to represent the university. The medal, when awarded, recognizes individuals who have embodied the pioneer spirit, determination and dedication that distinguished Armstrong's exploration of space and his later roles as a businessman and scholar.

The medal, upon Tingle's return to Earth, will be placed in a display case in Purdue's Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering until a future recipient is chosen. To date, the medal has been awarded only twice, to former Purdue President Martin Jischke and former US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot whose successful emergency landing of US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River saved the lives of 155 passengers and crew.

"Scott's carrying the Neil Armstrong medal into space is a wonderful portrayal of Purdue's history of space exploration, from the first landing on the moon to this most recent mission 48 years later," said Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering. "The medal itself now becomes part of that history, and will inspire the dreams of Purdue's future explorers."

In addition to the medal, two photos printed on the front and back of a Purdue placard will go up with Tingle. The front photo on the placard displays Purdue Engineering and the college's emblem against a star-filled background, while “Don't Worry/I'm A Mechanical Engineer” is stated in large capital letters across the back along with the Purdue University emblem.
Tingle placard Space placard back: A placard stating "Don't Worry/I'm A Mechanical Engineer" and the School of Mechanical Engineering emblem on the back is among the items Purdue alumnus and NASA astronaut Scott Tingle will take into space during his 2017 mission. (Purdue University) Download image

The placard, when returned, will be split, giving the College of Engineering and School of Mechanical Engineering each something to frame and display.

Zucrow Labs sent a scroll banner that pulls apart to display its "Purdue Propulsion" logo. A panoramic picture of all the students currently at Zucrow is included.

Anil Bajaj, William E. and Florence E. Perry head of mechanical engineering, said the item going up into space with Tingle has more meaning than meets the eye.

"The statement on the placard reflects the confidence our graduates have in their problem-solving abilities and their education to meet any challenge they will face," he said.

The items will go up in a 12-inch-by-8-inch container that Tingle will carry. The collective size and weight for the items is 12 inches by 7 inches and no more than 5 pounds. A decision on the items was made and the items sent to Tingle at the beginning of the month.

Tingle earned a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1988, with a specialty in fluid mechanics and propulsion. He was one of nine astronaut candidates originally selected by NASA in 2009 out of more than 3,500 applicants. 

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu 

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Leah Jamieson, 765-494-5346, lhj@purdue.edu

Anil Bajaj, 765-494-5688, bajaj@purdue.edu

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