Two from UT Space Institute Picked to Be Astronauts

TULLAHOMA — Two military fliers with ties to the University of Tennessee Space Institute have been chosen for NASA’s astronaut candidate class of 2000.

Lt. Cmdr. Barry Wilmore, a Navy pilot and native of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., and Maj. Douglas Hurley, of the Marine Corps and a native of Endicott, N.Y., are among 17 men and women who were selected for the class, the 18th in the history of the U.S. space program.

Wilmore holds the master’s degree in aviation systems from the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Tennessee Technological University. He currently is a test pilot and instructor in the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Hurley is completing the master’s degree in aviation systems at the space institute. He earned the B.S. in civil engineering from Tulane University.

Wilmore and Hurley will undergo a year of astronaut training before they are eligible to be scheduled for space flight.

Since the start of the U.S. space program, 12 UT students or graduates have become astronauts, including 10 who have attended UTSI and two from the Health Science Center in Memphis.

Eight from UTSI have been enrolled in the aviation systems program, which offers academic training in aerospace engineering and management, said Dr. Ralph Kimberlin, who heads the program.