Purdue alumni astronauts return to campus for reunion

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – They have traveled to space and now they are returning to Purdue for a reunion this weekend. Former astronaut Mark Brown was one of a group of Purdue astronauts who are in town.

Brown stopped by Burnett Creek Elementary to talk to students about being in space and the work it takes to get there. Brown said he’s glad to be back at Purdue and to reunite with friends.

“It’s very much like a family reunion. These are people we’ve known for years and years, some of us that have been around for a little bit. There’s also a new generation of astronauts that are coming up through the program,” said Brown. “We get to share experiences and stories and find out what’s life like today.”

Brown and Purdue School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Director of Development Rita Baines said it’s important to encourage students to work hard to pursue dreams like becoming an astronaut.

“Not only are these good careers to pursue, but they’re fun. It’s actually a lot of fun. Part of our role as astronauts that have been in space, flown jets and done these other things, is to convey that message. That there is a lot of fun to be had,” said Brown.

“This is absolutely essential. Not only do we get outreach for the children here, but what we get internally at Purdue. We’ve got them at several classes as well, so it’s very important,” said  Baines.

Twenty-three Purdue graduates have become astronauts. Eight of those astronauts will be at Elliott Hall of Music for a public forum Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

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