Scouts meet NASA astronaut

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Old North State Council, Boy Scouts of America, welcomed NASA astronaut Michael E. Fossum, Distinguished Eagle Scout, Silver Beaver and scoutmaster, to speak to Scouts in Greensboro on Jan. 27. Several Cub Scouts from Pack 239 in Roxboro were in attendance.

Fossum’s journey in Scouting began when he joined a Cub Scout pack in McAllen, Texas. He continued into Boy Scouts while also active in the Order of the Arrow throughout his youth and experienced Philmont Scout Ranch in 1975.

As a Scout, Fossum became an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow.

He is still active in scouting and serves as a scoutmaster for a Boy Scout troop.

Fossum received his commission in the U.S. Air Force from Texas A&M University in May 1980 after graduating with a B.S in mechanical engineering.

After completing his M.S. in systems engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1981, he was detailed to NASA-Johnson Space Center, where he supported Space Shuttle flight operations, beginning with STS-3.

He was selected for Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where he graduated in 1985.

After graduation, Fossum served at Edwards AFB as a Flight Test Engineer in the F-16 Test Squadron, working on a variety of airframe, avionics and armament development programs.

From 1989 to 1992, he served as a Flight Test Manager at Detachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center.

Fossum resigned from active duty in 1992 to work for NASA and retired as a Colonel from the USAF Reserves in 2010.

He has logged more than 1,800 hours in 35 different aircraft. He received his M.S. in space science from the University of Houston in 1997.

He joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in August 1998 and made his first journey to space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in July 2006 as a systems engineer.

He returned to space in May 2008, again on the Space Shuttle Discovery as a systems engineer.

Fossum’s third spaceflight began when he and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa launched to the ISS (International Space Station) in June 2011 aboard Russian space craft.

He stayed on the ISS for six months serving as the commander.

In his career, he has logged more than 194 days in space, seven space walks, and has travelled over 77 million miles in space.

Fossum is still an active civilian employee of NASA and plans to return to space again in the future.

Fossum’s special honors include, NASA Exceptional Service Medal and two NASA Spaceflight Medals. Scouting awards include Distinguished Eagle Scout, Silver Beaver and Vigil Member of the Order of the Arrow.

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