NASA astronaut set to touch down in St Andrews

Astronaut Duane Carey.
Astronaut Duane Carey.

NASA astronaut Duane Carey is taking part in a series of events at the University of St Andrews next week, including a public lecture.

Lieutenant Colonel Carey served as the pilot of the space shuttle Columbia on the fourth Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission in March 2002, a mission which orbited the Earth 165 times, and covered 3.9 million miles in over 262 hours.

During his visit Carey will deliver lectures at the University and share his experiences as a space shuttle pilot, the astronaut member of Mission Control, and a leader in three different US Air Force jet fighter squadrons with youngsters at Auchmuty High School.

An advocate of the importance of education, Carey believes that anyone can be inspired into believing and then achieving their dreams, regardless of how unattainable those dreams may appear.

He will draw on his own life experiences from living in council housing and hopping freight trains, to piloting NASA’s Space Shuttle, commanding 60-aircraft multi-national strike packages during Operation Desert Storm, and test-piloting Air Force F-16 jet fighters beyond the edges of their flight envelopes.

Lieutenant Colonel Carey’s visit is at the invitation of St Andrews student Tomi Baikie who was particularly keen to involve the local community and school pupils.

Tomi said: “I’m delighted that Mr Carey is returning to Scotland. He had a profound impact on my decision to study science when he came to my school in the Highlands.” 

St Andrews Vice-Principal Lorna Milne said: “Duane Carey’s visit at the invitation of one of our Physics undergraduates is another example of our students’ commitment to their academic subjects, and their ambition to learn from the very best people in their field.

“It is notable that Tomi has also gone out of his way to involve local school pupils, as well as inviting the wider community to share this wonderful opportunity to meet his extraordinary guest.

“I like to think it comes naturally to our students to give something back, and I’m always delighted when they do, exactly as Tomi has done.”

Lieutenant Colonel Carey will deliver a free public lecture in the University School of Physics Theatre A on Monday, September 21, at 7.30pm (doors open at 7:20pm).

The lecture, which will be introduced by University of St Andrews Rector Catherine Stihler, will be followed by a question and answer session.