Former Astronaut Joe Allen '59 Recalls "Out of This World" Experiences

Former Astronaut Joe Allen '59 Recalls "Out of This World" Experiences

October 11, 2007

Joe Allen 2003.jpgOctober 11, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - "Joe Allen was a self-described nerd majoring in math, science and physics at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., when Sputnik went into orbit on Oct. 4, 1957," begins a story published in the Post-Star of Glens Falls, New York. "Overnight, his interests no longer were considered so curious. 'It had a certain new importance given to it,' the 70-year-old former NASA astronaut said. 'Sputnik was recognized as a real giant in terms of technology, and it was made by a country thought to be technically backward. We needed our own.'"

The article describes how Dr. Allen, who graduated from DePauw in 1959, "joined NASA as a scientist. Later, he was selected to go through astronaut training, and in 1982 he made his firstJoe Allen 2.jpg flight."

"As I say, it's an out of this world experience, quite literally," Allen says of his mission on the space shuttle Columbia. Drew Kerr writes that it "marked the first time cargo was taken to space. Between that trip, in which Allen launched two communications satellites into space, and another in 1984, Allen has spent almost three weeks of his life circling Earth."

Kerr notes, "A Joe Allen OGG 1985.jpghalf-century after Sputnik I, Allen said, he's disappointed that more astronauts haven't been trained. He compared the space age with the evolution of air travel, which, within 50 years, went from calling the Wright brothers daredevils to commissioning throngs of pilots. 'Sadly, we're still called astronauts and cosmonauts,' he said."

Read the complete text at the the Web site of the Times of Northwest Indiana.

A member of DePauw University's Board of Trustees, Joseph P. Allen IV also served as NASA's assistant administrator from 1975-1978 and as director of astronaut training and operations in the early 1980s. Joe Allen was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2005. Details can be found in this previous story. He also received the Old Gold Goblet from DePauw (seen in photo at left) in 1985.