Christopher Ferguson: Orbital shout-outs from Philly spaceman

When asked to describe Drexel alumnus and commander of NASA’s final space shuttle mission Christopher Ferguson, the phrase most acquaintances chose was “down-to-earth” (no, really).

“He’s really maintained his ties with the university,” said associate teaching professor Don Haring, who coordinated a team of Drexel design students to create a mission badge for the trip after Ferguson reached out to the school. “He grew up in Philadelphia, and he sort of implied that he may be coming back — which would be really great.”

“He’s a cool guy,” said recent Drexel graduate Jennifer Choy, whose design was one of those chosen.

“I’ve been watching the videos they put up on NASA and in all the interviews he gives shout-outs to Drexel and his high school, Archbishop Ryan. You can tell he has a lot of pride for the Philly area.”

“It is incredible to be 220 miles over the Earth. … You look down and realize you really can’t see country boundaries,” Ferguson said in a recent video from space.

The 49-year-old astronaut is currently aboard the Atlantis shuttle on its final mission before NASA ends the country’s space program.

“You do realize how fragile [Earth] is as a result of the thin little atmosphere that we look at,” said Ferguson. “And how kindly we need to treat it — or perhaps it won’t be treating us very kindly for generations to come.”

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