UW News

April 3, 2008

Then and Now: Dawgs in space

This school year, University Week, the UW campus newspaper for faculty and staff, turns 25. To note the occasion, throughout the year we’ll revisit some stories from our past, in no particular chronological order, and then provide a brief update on how things have changed over our quarter-century.

“Two UW graduates have taken a giant step toward realizing their hope of flying in outer space,” began an article in the July 7, 1998, edition of University Week. The two had been selected by NASA to undergo a year of astronaut training.

They were Stan Love, who earned a master’s in astronomy in 1989 and a doctorate in 1993, and Greg Johnson, who earned a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering in 1977 on his way to other degrees. The two were among 25 people selected for the training from an original group of 2,500 that was narrowed down through interviews and medical testing.

“They’re going to need a lot of people to put the bolts on the space station. So if I show any aptitude for putting on a spacesuit and going out and turning a wrench, I may end up doing that,” Love joked at the time.

So, have they flown? Yes indeed, and both in 2008.

Love was a crew member on the shuttle Atlantis for flight STS-122 to the International Space Station, Feb. 7-20. The mission goal was to carry the European Space Agency’s Columbus Laboratory module to the space station and install it.

And Johnson, also a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, flew on shuttle mission STS123, also to the station, which lifted off March 11 and touched down safely on March 26 after 12 days of joint orbital construction — the longest yet for a visiting shuttle crew.