December 25, 2012

OURstory: Michael Anderson, NASA African American Astronaut

OURstory must be shared at all times of the year, not just in February. I think it is important that our young people challenge themselves in K-12 with science and math classes. Perhaps it will help if this blog shares examples of African American role models who used their knowledge of science and math to create exciting futures for themselves.

For example, Did you know that a young brother named Michael Anderson was born December 25, 1959, in Plattsburgh, New York. He graduated from Cheney High School in Cheney, Washington in 1977. He received a bachelor of science degree in physics/astronomy from University of Washington in 1981. Later he earned a master of science degree in physics from Creighton University.

He successfully got a job with NASA in December 1994. Anderson flew for over 593 hours in space. One of his spaces flight was in January 1988 on the Shuttle Endeavor.

His last flight was in 2003. Anderson was part of a 7-member shuttle mission launched by NASA on January 16, 2003. Space Shuttle Columbia was on a 16-day mission to research microgravity and other Earth science related experiments.

The seven member crew, David Brown, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson, Ilan Ramon, Rick Husband, Kalpana Chawla and William McCool died on February 1, 2003 when Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart during reentry.

It was later determined that a piece of foam broke free and struck the shuttles wing during launch, damaging the thermal heat tiles which protect the shuttle from extreme temperatures during reentry into the atmosphere.

Michael Anderson was a hero. He was a role model for all of us. May he rest in peace.

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