The University of Texas at Austin sent its first astronaut into space in 1969, when Alan Bean became the fourth person to walk on the moon. Since then, UT has graduated 11 more astronauts (12 in all) who in total, have flown more than 533 days in space. Six of these astronauts claim degrees from the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. In honor of National Astronaut Day (May 5), we take a look at some of the achievements of our ASE/EM Longhorns in space.

Alan BeanAlan Bean

B.S. Aeronautical Engineering, 1955

After a career as a U.S. Naval test pilot, Alan Bean became the fourth person to walk on the moon as a lunar module pilot on the Apollo 12 mission. On that mission in 1969, he landed on the moon’s Ocean of Storms after flying 250,000 miles in a journey that included an encounter with a lightning strike. He returned to space a second time as the commander of the second manned mission to Skylab, the first American space station, in 1973. His suit from his first mission is on display at the National Air and Space Museum. He is a recipient of The University of Texas Distinguished Alumnus Award and Distinguished Engineering Graduate Award. After retiring in 1981, Captain Bean became a professional artist. His paintings were featured in an exhibit at the LBJ Library and Museum at the University of Texas in the Fall of 2008. Bean passed away on May 26, 2018. Learn more about his accomplishments.

bob crippenRobert L. Crippen

B.S. Aerospace Engineering, 1960

Robert Crippen began his career as a Naval Aviator, and then, as an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School. In 1969, he became a NASA astronaut, serving on the astronaut support crew for several missions to Skylab. He participated in several shuttle flights including the first space shuttle flight, as a pilot and commander, and presided over the first five-person space crew. Later, from 1990 to 1992, he served as the Space Shuttle director at NASA headquarters in D.C. He has been inducted in the International Space Hall of Fame and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and in 2012 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

michael bakerMichael A. Baker

B.S. Aerospace Engineering, 1975

After becoming an astronaut in 1986, Michael A. Baker served as an ascent, entry and orbit spacecraft communicator for 11 spaceflight missions. He also served as the leader of the Astronaut Support Personnel team at the Kennedy Space Center and is a veteran of four spaceflight missions. He was a pilot for two and mission commander for the other two, logging a total of 965 hours in space. From 1997 to 2001, he worked as the Assistant Director of Johnson Space Center for Human Space Flight Programs, Russia and oversaw the implementation of NASA’s Human spaceflight programs in Russia. In 1993 The University of Texas at Austin named him a 1993 Outstanding Alumnus. In 2017, Baker left NASA to work in the private sector.


paul lockhartPaul S. Lockhart

M.S. Aerospace Engineering, 1981

After serving in the U.S. Air Force for over 16 years, Colonel Paul Lockhart was selected by NASA as an astronaut in 1996. After completing astronaut training, he was assigned to work on various technical issues including the Space Shuttle Main Engine and redesign of the orbiter’s flight display. He is a veteran of two space flights and has logged 26 days, 39 minutes, and 82 seconds in space. He has also served as an Astronaut and Special Assistant for Program Management at NASA. In 2008, Lockhart began serving as the senior vice president for Space Systems and Services, Vencore. He also serves on UT Austin’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics External Advisory Committee.

stephanie wilsonStephanie D. Wilson

M.S. Aerospace Engineering, 1992

After working as an engineer and researching the control and modeling of large, flexible space structures as a graduate student, Stephanie D. Wilson was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1996. At NASA, she has worked in a variety of roles, such as a prime communicator in the Mission Control Center, Space Station Integration Branch chief and acting chief of program and project integration at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. She has also participated in three space flights as a robotic arm operator, a role in which she provided vehicle inspection and support for spacewalks, logging more than 42 days in space. In 2005, she received the Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award and in 2015 the Texas Ex Distinguished Alumna Award.

andreas mogensenAndreas Mogensen

Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering, 2008

Andreas Mogensen became the first Dane in space in 2015 when he flew on a 10-day European Space Agency (ESA) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a support crew for astronaut Scott Kelley, who spent a year in space to study space’s effects on the body. Before that, he worked as an engineer and researcher until ESA selected him as an astronaut in 2009. He has also been a crew member for two NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations at the Aquarius undersea research laboratory and as part of the engineering team for the ESA Lunar Lander mission.