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Astronaut Joe Allen '59 Shares Space Stories With New York Students

November 13, 2001

November 13, 2001, Greencastle, Ind. - Having twice traveled in space, Joseph P. Allen IV has some stories to tell. Recently, the 1959 graduate of DePauw University and chairman of Veridian Corporation shared his experiences with students at Williamsville South High School in New York, a visit that was covered by the Buffalo News. Writer T.J. Pignataro called Allen "an extraordinary guest who spun tales of his travels around the world in 90 minutes."

Dr. Allen, who flew as a mission specialist on two space shuttle flights, served as a mission controller for Apollo 15 and 17, and for the first test flight of the space shuttle, told an assembly of science students, "Being an astronaut is a lot like being in high school. There are classes. You have examinations. What you call 'labs' we have 'simulator sessions.' And there is physical education," Allen said.

The 64 year old Allen was asked what made him interested in space travel. "When I grew up, there were no astronauts," he told the students. "The idea of going to space was crazy, science fiction. I wound up in a profession that had not been invented when I was in high school." A Fulbright Scholar who holds a bachelor's degree in math-physics from DePauw University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Yale, Allen said, "The best training for any kind of adventure, then and now, was school."

Joe Allen was a member of the physics faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle when, in 1967, NASA selected him as a member of its astronaut corps. He left government service in 1985. Allen has published widely in the fields of physics and space research. In addition to chairing Veridian, he currently serves as a director of Actioneer, Inc. and a trustee of Herman Hospital, in Houston, Texas.

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