Astronaut Clayton Anderson joins Iowa State engineering faculty

Clayton Anderson

Clayton Anderson flies the Iowa State colors aboard the International Space Station. Larger photo. NASA photo.

AMES, Iowa – Clayton Anderson, an Iowa State University graduate and former NASA astronaut, will join the university as a distinguished faculty fellow in aerospace engineering.

Anderson, a native of Nebraska, received his master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State in 1983. He joined NASA’s Johnson Space Center that same year, working in the Mission Planning and Analysis Division, Mission Operations Directorate, and managing the center’s emergency operations center before being selected as an astronaut candidate in 1998.

“It’s not every day that we get an opportunity to hire an ‘astronaut in residence,’” noted Iowa State University President Steven Leath. “I am thrilled our students will learn from Clayton’s knowledge and experiences as they foster their own dreams for careers in science and even space travel.”

A veteran of two space flights, Anderson has logged 167 days in space, and more than 38 hours of Extravehicular Activity (spacewalks) at the International Space Station.

On his first trip in 2007, Anderson launched with the crew of STS-117 and spent five months aboard the ISS, performing three spacewalks and using the station’s robotic arm to position equipment for a new docking port.

Anderson’s second mission to the International Space Station (STS-131) in April 2010 was a resupply mission that dropped off 27,000 pounds of supplies and equipment. During the trip he performed three additional spacewalks, spending 20 hours outside the station.

“I am honored and excited that Iowa State University would consider me worthy of the position of Distinguished Faculty Fellow in Aerospace Engineering,” said Anderson. “I look forward to doing whatever I can to help the students and faculty of the engineering college, and the entire university, move into the future!”

In his new position, Anderson will work with freshmen aerospace engineering students, engaging them in hands-on problem solving, and helping design cutting-edge research projects for the aerospace department’s students and faculty.

“Iowa State’s students and faculty will benefit from this appointment in many ways,” said Rich Wlezien, chair of the university’s Department of Aerospace Engineering. “In addition to his career as an astronaut, Clayton also has experience in all aspects of human space flight that will be highly relevant to our students as the era of commercial space access emerges.”

Anderson will begin his service at Iowa State in October.