Shuttle: Oakland County Astronaut on Endeavour's Last Flight
Lake Orion native, and Oakland Community College graduate, Andrew Feustel will be part of a six-member crew that will launch Friday from the Kennedy Space Center.
The motto of Oakland Community College is "You Can Get Anywhere From Here,"and astronaut Andrew Feustel demonstrates that possibly more than any other graduate.
Feustel, 45, who attended classes the Auburn Hills campus of OCC, will be aboard space shuttle Endeavour as a mission specialist for its scheduled lift-off Friday afternoon from the Kennedy Space Center.
But before he became an astronaut, Feustel lived in Royal Oak until he was 10 years old and then moved out to Lake Orion.
Like many Metro Detroiters, he had family that worked in the automotive industry which got him interested in the mechanics of how things work. According to his NASA biography, he actually worked on Jaguars in an automotive shop to pay his way through college.
"I believe that the time I’ve spent in my life working with tools and familiarity with tools and that environment allowed me to be at ease with the things I was doing (on his first mission)," Feustel told NASA in a pre-flight interview.
The upcoming flight on Endeavour will be his second shuttle flight, having flown on Atlantis in 2009. During the mission he conducted three space walks to repair the Hubble Space Telesecope in the shuttle's cargo bay.
During a spacewalk during that mission he was able to look at the Earth and catch a glimpse of Michigan.
"I could see it in the distance and it was just beautiful," he said in his NASA interview. "It was really at a slight angle, so I could see the Great Lakes and it was just falling into the shadow of darkness, but it was just a beautiful sight. I thought, that’s pretty neat—that’s my home, my state, I can see where I grew up, practically, or at least whereabouts."
During this upcoming 14-day mission he will again have the chance to see his home state from outside of the Space Shuttle during three scheduled spacewalks to conduct experiments and maintenance on the International Space Station.
And once he returns to Earth, officials from Oakland Community College hope he comes back to campus.
His last visit was before his first space shuttle flight, when he was named an Outstanding Alumnus. He was also given a shirt with the modified motto, "You can get anywhere from here, even space" that he took with him on his mission.
"We do expect him," said George Cartsonis, director, college communications, Oakland Community College. "He has really talked positively about Oakland Community College and his gratefulness to have given him his start."
St. Clair Shores Patch editor Edward Cardenas is at the Kennedy Space Center this week as part of the NASA Tweetup and is posting dispatches back to us at Mission Control in Michigan. Follow Edward on his space journey at www.twitter.com/elcardenas.