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Purdue alumnus named astronaut candidate

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has announced that a Purdue University graduate is among 35 new astronaut candidates chosen for the space shuttle program.

Mark L. Polansky, Houston, graduated from Purdue in May 1978 with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, and in December 1978 earned a master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics. A native of Paterson, N.J., he currently is a research pilot at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. Polansky is one of 10 pilots who are 1996 astronaut candidates. This year's candidates also include 25 mission specialists, who are responsible for overseeing experiments performed on board the space shuttle.

The astronaut candidates will report to the Johnson Space Center on Aug. 12 to begin a year of training and evaluation. They then will receive technical assignments to further prepare then for shuttle missions.

With the addition of Polansky, 22 Purdue graduates have been chosen for space flight, including Neil A. Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, and Eugene A. Cernan, the last man to do so. More than a third of all manned U.S. space flights have had Purdue alumni as part of the crew, including 40 flights of the space shuttle.


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