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Citadel News Service
9 Mar 2017

NASA astronauts and scientists to discuss resilience in space exploration

March 16 NASA panel part of Principled Leadership Symposium; free and open to the public

CHARLESTON, SC ─ The commander of NASA’s upcoming expedition to the International Space Station, an Apollo 16 astronaut who walked on the moon, a planetary geologist, a mission commander, and a space operations-bound cadet will convene to lead a public discussion at The Citadel about space exploration. The five interstellar-focused leaders will be panelists for an event entitled Resilience in Space Exploration, to be held from 1 – 2:45p.m., Thursday, March 16, in the auditorium at Bond Hall 165 on campus. One of the panelists, Col. Randy Bresnik, a Citadel alumnus, will be joining the conversation remotely from Russia, where he is training for an upcoming expedition.

“Space exploration is the perfect forum to study the complexities of resiliency. Preparation for space requires astronauts to train extensively for years to deal with long periods of monotony punctuated by life-threatening situations,” said John Weinstein, interim dean for The Citadel School of Science and Mathematics, and panel moderator. “The support team on the ground must resolve high-stake technical challenges quickly. Moreover, as a federal agency, NASA endures shifting national priorities. We are honored to learn from this distinguished group of NASA leaders.”

The space exploration panel is one of more than a dozen events included in the 10th Annual Principled Leadership Symposium. Cadets, student delegates from othe insitutions, faculty, staff and community visitors attend the two-day event, sponsored by the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics at The Citadel. The panelists include:

Col. Randolph Bresnik, USMC (Ret.), Citadel Class of 1989

bresnik_campus 2016 nasa approved

Col. Randolph “Randy” Bresnik is a NASA astronaut, a former U.S. Marine Corps aviator, and a graduate of The Citadel. In the summer of 2017, Bresnik will assume command of the International Space Station, leading an international team for Expedition 52/53, expected to launch from Russia early in the summer. The college is reporting on his training and expedition on a special section of called The Citadel Space Star.

Bresnik studied mathematics at The Citadel. After graduating in 1989, he commissioned as an officer into the U.S. Marine Corps. While a Marine, Bresnik earned a Master of Science in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee and graduated from the Air War College. In 2004, Bresnik was among the elite few selected out of approximately 3,500 applicants to become one of the 11 members of NASA’s Astronaut Class 19. He completed his astronaut candidate training in 2006, becoming the first graduate of The Citadel to have the opportunity to fly in space. In 2009, Bresnik was a part of the Space Shuttle Atlantis crew that docked with the International Space Station (ISS) for 11 days. According to NASA, Bresnik’s two spacewalks during the mission totaled 11 hours and 50 minutes. He was the first astronaut who celebrated the birth of a child while in space.

Bresnik has also trained as a cave-a-naut for the European Space Agency, testing impacts on the human body while living deep beneath the Earth’s surface. In 2014, Bresnik commanded a team of aquanauts for NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operation (NEEMO), aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory.

Brig. Gen. Charles “Charlie” Duke, USAF (Ret.)

charlie duke

Brig. Gen. Charles “Charlie” Duke

Charlie Duke is a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve brigadier general who has logged 4,147 hours flying time, including 3,632 hours in jet aircraft. He graduated valedictorian from the Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida, received a Bachelor of Science in Naval Sciences from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1957, and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has an honorary doctorate of philosophy from the University of South Carolina and an honorary doctorate of humanities from Francis Marion College. In 1966, Duke was one of 19 selected to be a part of NASA’s fifth group of astronauts. He served as a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo 10 flight, was capsule communicator for Apollo 11, the first landing on the moon, and he served as backup lunar module pilot on Apollo 13. In April of 1972, Duke served as lunar module pilot of Apollo 16, becoming the 10th person to set foot on the surface of the moon. With the completion of the Apollo 16 mission, Duke has logged 265 hours in space. Duke retired from the NASA astronaut program in December of 1975.

Noah Petro, NASA Planetary Geologist

Noah Petro

Noah Petro Ph.D. is a planetary geologist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. His passion for the moon is in his DNA. His father was an engineer who built parts for the Apollo Lunar Module and the astronauts’ backpacks. In high school, Petro was introduced to the world of geology, and later, at Bates College, was introduced to the world of planetary geology. He earned his Ph.D. from Brown University in 2007, and joined Goddard’s staff. He has worked on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) since 2011 and is helping plan for future lunar missions to the moon’s far side. His work on LRO has shown him the importance of working with both scientists and engineers, as well as how to manage a large, diverse team. He recently co-authored a paper on the Apollo 17 landing site, working with astronaut Harrison Schmitt, reexamining the geology of the area, and showing that the new data from LRO suggests that there is much to learn about the moon.

NASA Mission Director: Steve Odendahl, USAF (Ret.), Citadel Class of 1985

steve odendahl

Steve Odendahl

Steve Odendahl graduated from The Citadel in 1985 with a degree in physics and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. After graduation, he moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to begin training as a satellite operations officer. Odendahl completed three demanding assignments while serving in the Air Force and eventually earned his Master’s degree in Space Systems Management from Webster University. After leaving the Air Force in 1992, he worked in various coveted positions within his field. In 2001, he began working for NASA as mission director for the three spacecraft in International Solar Terrestrial Physics program. Odendahl served as mission director for a variety of heliophysics and astrophysics spacecraft before taking on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2010. In addition to his position as LRO mission director, Odendahl trains and mentors new mission directors and sits on various NASA review boards for missions in development.

Cadet Angelica McNerny, USAF scholarship student, Citadel Space Star blogger

angelica mcnearny

Cadet Angelica McNerny

Cadet Angelica McNerny is a senior in the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. McNerny is originally from Las Vegas, and is expected to commission into the U.S. Air Force upon graduating in May of 2017 to begin Space Systems Operations training. She is attending The Citadel on an Air Force scholarship. McNerny, a physics major, is a Citadel Scholar and a member of The Citadel Honors Program. She serves as a research assistant for the Planetary Science Institute and is engaged in ongoing work with the Atsa Suborbital Observatory, a project led by Citadel Physics Professor Luke Sollitt, Ph.D. A member of the Society of Women Engineers, McNerny serves as first sergeant for Victor Company at The Citadel and as an editor for The Shako. She is a Gold Star and Deans List student. McNerny is currently reporting on Bresnik's training expedition through The Citadel Space Star cadet blog.

Other speakers and panels will include South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, the CEO of AMB Group, LLC, and national leaders in the disciplines of business, education, and engineering. The full program is viewable here.

All symposiums and speeches are open to the public and free to attend. The space exploration panel and others will be live-streamed on YouTube on the college’s channel, The Citadel Experience.

col. Randy bresnik and cadet angelica mcnerny at johnson space center

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