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Astronaut Charles Walker To Speak At Purdue University
Updated October 15, 2014 8:03 AM | Filed under: Event
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(LAFAYETTE) - Astronaut Charles Walker, a Bedford native, will speak at Purdue University next week about his experiences in the space program.

His talk, which is free and open to the public, begins at 8 p.m. in the Class of 1950 Lecture Hall.

Walker also will attend Purdue's annual Space Day on Oct. 25. He will speak at 9:30 a.m. in Elliott Hall of Music. That event also is free and open to the public.

Walker graduated from Bedford High School in 1966. He earned a bachelor's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue in 1971. In the mid-1980s he flew aboard three NASA Space Shuttle missions as the first industry-sponsored engineer and researcher. As such, he became the first private astronaut in space.

Walker has served on the boards and as an officer of numerous not-for-profit and educational groups including the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Association of Space Explorers, American Astronautical Society, National Space Society and X-Prize Committee.

More than 650 students in grades three to eight are registered for the 20th annual Purdue Space Day. The participants come from 165 schools and home-school programs in three states. More than 220 volunteers will help with the event.
Space Day provides students the opportunity to learn about science, technology, engineering and math by participating in three age-appropriate activity sessions throughout the day.

Grades three and four will build model spacecraft that will carry eggs dropped from a third-floor window. They also will become real rocket scientists when they deploy straw rockets, and will have an opportunity to experience how differently life in space would be from life on Earth.

Grades five and six will deploy balloon satellites; learn the basic principles of astronomy by observing the night sky; and learn the fundamental principles of rocket propulsion by designing, constructing and testing their own stomp rocket.
Grades seven and eight will design, build and test a high-powered water rocket; prepare and react to an emergency happening on the International Space Station; and with the aid of the EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) team, build and test a trebuchet and launch an airplane.

Purdue Space Day is a student organization hosted by the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. More information on Purdue Space Day is available at

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