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Cancelled: Famed astronaut James Lovell to visit University of Minnesota for public talk

September 21, 2011

Cancelled: Gemini and Apollo astronaut James Lovell will present two University of Minnesota undergraduate students with $10,000 scholarships from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and give a public talk on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 12:15 to 1 p.m. at Coffman Memorial Union Theater, 300 Washington Ave. S.E., Minneapolis. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 11:45 a.m. Space is limited and seating is first-come, first-served the day of the event.

Lovell will share his experiences of rocketing through Earth’s atmosphere and into outer space on four occasions, including commanding the famously ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. Lovell will also present scholarships to students Brett Neubauer and Sam Schreiner. Both are enrolled in the university’s College of Science and Engineering and the University Honors Program.

Neubauer and Schreiner are two of only 26 students nationwide to receive this scholarship, which is the largest merit-based scholarship program in the nation for undergraduate students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Since 1994 the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation has distributed $191,000 to Astronaut Scholars at the University of Minnesota.

“Brett and Sam are clear leaders in engineering at the University of Minnesota,” Lovell said. “They are prime examples of everything Astronaut Scholars are supposed to be: intelligent, perseverant and destined for greatness. I am honored to have the opportunity to present these awards to such worthy U of M students.”

Neubauer is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. This past year he has been researching different methods for robotic locomotion, with applications for first response in disasters such as earthquakes, fires and chemical spills. As a sophomore he designed medical testing equipment to study muscle deterioration in chronically ill hospital patients. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in a field related to robotic systems, and his long-term aspirations include leading teams of engineers in the design and production of new technology within the field of robotics and system automation.

Schreiner is a senior majoring in aerospace engineering and mechanics. He believes that the next era of space exploration will be marked by greater international cooperation, and to that end is planning to learn Mandarin Chinese. After graduation, he intends to obtain an advanced degree in aerospace engineering, and use his experience in leadership, business and engineering to further humanity’s exploration of space.

“We are honored to have Captain James Lovell visit the University of Minnesota and recognize our excellent students,” said university President Eric Kaler. “Captain Lovell's distinguished career and heroic problem-solving during the Apollo 13 mission make him a role model for us all.”

Selected as a NASA Astronaut in 1962, Lovell has logged more 715 hours in space on four missions. He piloted a then-record 14-day space trip on Gemini 7. He commanded Gemini 12, and piloted Apollo 8, humankind’s maiden voyage to the Moon. Lovell is best known for his command of Apollo 13, the third lunar landing attempt in 1970, which was aborted following an oxygen tank explosion en route to the Moon. The mission was chronicled in a 1995 blockbuster movie. Lovell retired from NASA in 1973, and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1993. He served as the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation chair from 1997 to 2005 and is still an active member of the foundation.

The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the United States to science and engineering undergraduate students based solely on merit. To date, more than $3 million has been awarded nationwide in scholarships to outstanding college students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in these fields. Today, more than 80 astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined in this effort.

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James Lovell will share his experiences of rocketing through Earth’s atmosphere and into outer space on four occasions, including commanding the famously ill-fated Apollo 13 mission.

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