Astronaut Shane visits LIT

Eugene Phelan

Reporter:

Eugene Phelan

STUDENTs from Limerick travelled to Florida three years ago to watch a shuttle go into space and this week to their delight one of the astronauts from that mission called in to say hello.

STUDENTs from Limerick travelled to Florida three years ago to watch a shuttle go into space and this week to their delight one of the astronauts from that mission called in to say hello.

In 2008 five LIT postgraduate students spent six months at the Kennedy Space Life Science Centre at Florida and had watched NASA astronaut Lt Col Shane Kimbrough’s shuttle launch on “Endeavour”.

This Tuesday the American astronaut happily posed for a photo with LIT postgraduates prior to addressing staff and students at the Millennium theatre at LIT. LT. Colonel Kimbrough’s presentation focused on his 16 day space mission on STS- 126 Endeavour. During the mission Kimbrough performed two space walks logging a total of 12 hours and 52 minutes. STS-126 Endeavour returned to Earth after completing 250 orbits in over six million miles.

Lt. Col. Shane Kimbrough is in Ireland for a three visit organised by the Embassy of the United States in Ireland. Prior to his presentation Lt. Col Kimbrough was given a tour of the new Controlled Environment Laboratory for Life Sciences (CELLS) Unit.

LIT postgraduate student Aisling Flanagan, who showed Lt Col Kimbrough her research into sphagnum moss said, “In 2008 while on an internship at the Kennedy Space Life Science Centre in Florida I was lucky enough to get to watch the Endeavour shuttle launch. To meet one of the astronauts from that same shuttle is unbelievable.”

LIT has strong links with NASA, LIT postgraduate student Ger Newsham hit the headlines when his project was carried on the last space shuttle flight Atlantis in July and 3 of LIT’s graduates started a 6 month internship at the Kennedy Space Life Science Centre in Florida on October 1.