Former astronaut speaks on campus

Sebastian Morris, Reporter

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Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, mother, educator and former NASA astronaut, spoke at Marshall University Monday about her missions, space dreams and the significance of funding exploration.

Metcalf-Lindenburger said she told her teacher she wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up, but she knew her dream would take much more than words to come true.

Metcalf-Lindenburger was born  in May of 1975 in Colorado. After earning her teaching certification in 1999, she taught high school science for five years.

“One of my students asked me, ‘how do you use the bathroom in space,’ and I didn’t know,” Metcalf-Lindenburger said.

During her search to find an answer, she discovered that NASA was hiring.

Metcalf-Lindenburger was selected by NASA as a Mission Specialist in May of 2004 and graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training in February of 2006. In 2010, she was a mission specialist on the crew of STS-131 and logged more than 362 hours in space.

On her first day back on Earth, Metcalf-Lindenburger said she had a nightmare of being stuck to her bed, which was a result of the difficult gravity adjustment.

In June 2012, Metcalf-Lindenburger commanded the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 16. In the underwater habitat, the international crew of four aquanauts and two habitat technicians carried out simulated spacewalks.

Certain qualifications can make an individual applying to become a candidate stand out among the hundreds of applications. Metcalf-Lindenburger said NASA looks for candidates who have experience in high stress environments and look at where applicants have volunteered and what they have done.

Metcalf-Lindenburger retired from NASA on June 13, 2014, to live and work in the Seattle area.

Sebastian Morris can be contacted at [email protected]

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