Skip Navigation

A whole heck of a lot. Badger astronauts include Brewster Shaw ’68, MS’69, who was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2006; Laurel Clark ’83, MD’87, who died in the Columbia disaster in 2003; and Jim Lovell x’50, who was captain of the Apollo 13 mission and one of only 24 people to go to the moon. Badgers have also been superstars in the field of planetary observation since 1959. That’s when a radiometer designed by UW professors Verner Suomi and Robert Parent went to space on Explorer 7, setting the stage for the use of satellites in meteorology and modern weather tracking. In 1965, the two founded the UW’s Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), which works with the astronomy department on instrument development and research. Instruments created by the SSEC went to space aboard the first geostationary satellites in the 1960s, missions to Venus in 1978, the Galileo mission to Jupiter in 1995, and numerous others. Their High Speed Photometer (HSP) even hitched a ride on the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990. (Fun fact: the HSP was the only instrument on the Hubble that never suffered a failure of a major subsystem. Boo-yah.)

More From Ask Flamingle HQ