AE comeback guests
The Department of Aerospace Engineering is proud to welcome two alumni - one, who has piloted a shuttle in space, and the other, who directs shuttles from the ground, - back to campus as 2007 Illini Comeback guests.
Astronaut Col. Lee "Bru" Archambault, BS 82, MS 84, pilot of the space shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station this past June, and Cathy Larson Koerner, BS 87, MS 89, shuttle program manager of the Missions Operations Directorate, will be returning for the University of Illinois Homecoming, October 26-28. The two alumni will interact with students, staff and faculty through formal programs, classroom visits and social activities as part of the Illini Comeback program, which the Student Alumni Association and the UI Alumni Association sponsor.
A distinguished graduate of the Air Force Officer Training School, Archambault was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1985 and earned his pilot wings a year later. He flew 22 combat missions in 1990 and 1991during the first Gulf War and graduated first in his class from the Air Force Test Pilot School in 1995.
A decorated military pilot, Archambault has earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and Meritorious Service Medal, among other awards, and has logged more than 4,250 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft. Selected as a pilot by NASA in 1998, he has served as the lead astronaut support person for two shuttle flights in 2002 and 2005 and in October 2004 was assigned as CAPCOM, the lead capsule communicator. He has logged a total of 14 days and 5.8 million miles in space. Aerospace Engineering recognized Archambault with the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award in 1993. He is also an inductee of the Proviso West (Illinois) High School Hall of Fame.
Koerner oversees support to NASA's space shuttle program at Johnson Space Center in Houston. She holds the distinction of being one of just 69 flight directors that the space agency has produced in its 48-year history. Of that select number, only nine have been women.
Having joined the Johnson Space Center in 1991 following a stint at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Koerner worked 43 missions as a certified flight controller and later managed 16 flight controllers as the lead of the Space Shuttle Propulsion Systems Group. Since 2000, she has been a flight director, trained in leading both space shuttle and International Space Station missions.
She has received numerous NASA honors, including its Outstanding Leadership Medal and the Space Flight Awareness Team Award. Koerner received AE's Outstanding Recent Alumna Award in 1999. While a UI student, Koerner was a member of the Student Alumni Ambassadors and escorted Illini Comeback guest and fellow AE alumnus, astronautSteve Nagel BS 69.