In the 250th anniversary of its foundation, Istanbul Technical University continues to organize important seminars where expert guests share their experiences in their fields. This time, ITU brought together an important name in the field of space with its students.

ITU hosted retired NASA astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger at ITU Ayazağa Campus. Metcalf-Lindenburger gave a speech at ITU Süleyman Demirel Cultural Center, where she shared her experiences on being an astronaut and space, as part of a collaboration by the US diplomatic missions in Türkiye to promote the exchange of ideas and mutual learning.

A look at the cubesat studies at ITU

Before her speech, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger visited the laboratories at ITU Faculty of Aeronautics and Astronautics with faculty members. Metcalf-Lindenburger was briefed about the studies carried out at ITU on various topics such as cubesat design. Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger had a short interview with the press at the faculty.

“Be curious, challenged and courageous”

Our Vice-Rector Prof. Dr. Şule Itır Satoğlu made the opening speech at the seminar and invited Metcalf-Lindenburger to the stage to make her speech.

NASA retired astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger shared her adventure of becoming an astronaut in her speech, which attracted great attention from the press. She said that the space camps she attended as a child were effective in the formation of her curiosity about space. Metcalf-Lindenburger said that while she was working as a teacher, one of her students asked her a question about the engineering behind space and astronauts, and that she started doing research on these subjects in order to give her student a correct answer, which led her to become an astronaut.

In her presentation, Metcalf-Lindenburger shared with the participants the stages she went through from the beginning of astronaut candidate training to spacewalk. She talked about the missions, scientific experiments and daily routines carried out on the International Space Station during space missions.

Astronaut Metcalf-Lindenburger advised young people in the audience to ask questions about where they want to be 20 years from now and set goals accordingly. In order to be successful in aerospace as well as in other fields, she advised the students to “be curious, challenged and courageous”. She also added that doing sports plays an important role in an astronaut’s career.

Metcalf-Lindenburger said that going into space and looking at the Earth from space has greatly changed her perspective. She expressed that she realized the value and vulnerability of the Earth, which is the home of all humanity, and how important it is to cooperate in protecting our planet.

Metcalf-Lindenburger stated that besides NASA, the work of other countries’ space agencies plays a very important role in the advancement of space research, and after giving information to the participants about NASA’s Back to the Moon program Artemis, she answered the questions of ITU students.

Marvin Alfaro, Cultural Attaché of the US Consulate in Istanbul, made a short speech of thanks to the ITU administration, the Faculty of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the participants for making this event possible. Alfaro emphasized the importance of meeting brilliant students and said that Metcalf-Lindenburger’s speech at ITU was part of the “U.S. Speaker” program run by the US Department of States.

At the end of the event, our Vice-Rectors presented a gift to NASA Astronaut Metcalf-Lindenburger.

About Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger

She completed her geology education at Whitman College in Washington with honors in 1997. She received Teaching Certification from Central Washington University in 1999. She taught Earth Science and Astronomy for five years. During her studies at the university, she conducted scientific research on mapping.

She was selected by NASA as a Mission Specialist in May 2004. In February 2006, she completed Astronaut Candidate Training, which included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training.

In 2010, she was a “mission specialist” on the crew of STS-131 and logged more than 15 days in space. After her space flight, she worked as an “Astronaut Support Personnel” for the final three shuttle missions.

In 2012, she commanded the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 16. This underwater research crew carried out simulated spacewalks to investigate the techniques and tools that may be used at a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA).

Metcalf-Lindenburger retired from NASA on June 13, 2014. After her retirement, she pursued a master’s degree in geology at the University of Washington from 2014 to 2016.

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