Archambault chosen as Illini Comeback Guest
Archambault, BS 82, MS 84, is being honored by the Student Alumni Association and UI Alumni Association to return and interact with students, staff and faculty through formal programs, classroom visits and social activities during Homecoming, October 26-28.
Archambault will likely share his adventures experienced in piloting NASA’s shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station in June. A U.S. Air Force colonel, Archambault served as both shuttle pilot and orbiter robotic arm operator.
Archambault, 46, joined the U.S. Air Force in 1985 and flew a number of aircraft, including the F-117A Stealth Fighter. He guided that craft through 22 combat missions in the Gulf War between 1990 and 1991. Later he served as an instructor pilot and test pilot to aid aircraft weapons development before joining NASA in June 1998. He has logged over 4250 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft.
Prior to the space flight, Archambault said of the new challenge: “One of your biggest motivators is fear of failure. When I fly the shuttle for the first time, I’ll be focused on doing my job and doing it correctly. That is how I will take my experience as a military pilot and channel those experiences to succeed in a space shuttle.”
Archambault considers Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan, from Archambault’s hometown of Bellwood, Illinois, to be his inspiration. Cernan led the Apollo 17 mission of 1972 and was the last explorer to walk on the moon.
Among Archambault’s honors and awards are the Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster), Aerial Achievement Medal (4th Oak Leaf Cluster), Commendation Medal (1st Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Force Achievement Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, and Kuwaiti Liberation Medal. He has received the Distinguished Graduate and Liethen-Tittle Award (top graduate) from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, and is a Distinguished Graduate from the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School.