Space Shuttle Endeavor Piloted Home by RPI Nuclear Engineering Alumnus Frank Batteas

NASA research pilots Frank Batteas '77, who grew up in New York state and now lives in California, spent his college years at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a degree in nuclear engineering. Batteas spent 21 years in the Air Force before joining NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., as a test pilot. According to his entry on the NASA website, he has more than 8,000 hours of military and civilian flight time in a variety of aircraft. As a test pilot, Batteas has flown the KC-135, C-17, F/A-18, F-15, B-747 and DC-8.

Batteas flew the first leg of the shuttle's flight from Florida to California. The flight from Florida was delayed for two days because of bad weather. The second leg, flown Thursday, took the aircraft to El Paso. The final leg will end in California. Frank Batteas said retiring Endeavour was "bittersweet," but taking Endeavour on its farewell journey was "a highlight of my career."

[Photos courtesy AP: Kevin M. Cox & Smiley N. Pool]

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