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President's Lecture - Story Musgrave

Former astronaut Story Musgrave presented the 2010 President’s Lecture, speaking about America’s exploration of space, the Hubble Space Telescope, and adventure. Here is President James Schmotter’s introduction:

The term “hero” is used often today — and it is probably overused. It usually describes anyone who risks his or her life while protecting others, and I certainly consider those people brave and worthy of our admiration.

And while our speaker today did risk his life with six flights into space, several space walks, and countless other times as an experimental parachutist and jet pilot, to me that is not his most impressive trait.

To me, Story Musgrave is most admirable for his insatiable pursuit of knowledge and his almost constant application of that knowledge.

To tell the truth, Story Musgrave was always inquisitive.
He was born on a dairy farm in Stockbridge, Mass., and according to his official biography, “he was in the forests alone at 3 and by 5 floated his homebuilt rafts on the rivers. He rode combines at 5, drove trucks and tractors at 10 and when alone in remote fields, repaired them by 13.

He dropped out of high school and joined the Marines, where he learned about airplanes.

He figured out that education was important and earned his degree in mathematics and statistics from Syracuse University, a master of business administration in operations analysis and computer programming from UCLA, a degree in chemistry from Marietta College, a doctorate in medicine from Columbia University, a master’s in physiology and biophysics from the University of Kentucky, and a master’s in literature from the University of Houston.

That’s six degrees.

In between, he has flown 17,700 hours in 160 different types of civilian and military aircraft, including 7,500 hours in jet aircraft. An accomplished parachutist, he has made more than 500 free falls -- including over 100 experimental free-fall descents involved with the study of human aerodynamics.

Dr. Musgrave was selected as a scientist-astronaut by NASA in 1967 and first flew on the Space Shuttle in 1983.
His second flight was to service and repair the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993. He performed three space walks and, with his fellow crewmembers, restored the Hubble to perfect vision.

When he retired from NASA, he was one of the agency’s most experienced and accomplished astronauts.

Today he operates a palm farm in Orlando, Florida, a production company in Sydney and a sculpture company in Burbank, California. He is also a landscape architect, a concept artist with Walt Disney Imagineering, an innovator with Applied Minds Inc. and a professor of design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He has 7 children and three grandchildren.

Story Musgrave demonstrates how to live a full life.

That is how I would describe a hero.

I give you our speaker, Story Musgrave.

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Astronaut Story Musgrave gave the President's Lecture during Hubble Week.