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Former Astronaut Speaks at Penn College Aviation Celebration

Dr. Guion S. Bluford Jr., a former NASA astronaut who flew on four Space Shuttle missions, was the featured speaker at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Aviation Celebration commemorating 100 years of flight and 70 years of aviation education at the College.

The event for aviation alumni, prospective students, the College community and special guests was held June 30 at the College’s Lumley Aviation Center, located at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville.

Other activities included an overview of the College’s 70-year history of aviation instruction, presented by Thomas D. Inman, assistant professor of avionics; the dedication of a 1/3-scale model of the 1903 Wright Flyer, constructed by students and faculty; a presentation on technological innovations that made flight possible; alumni sessions; and tours of the Aviation Center, including the student projects on display.

Bluford, a Philadelphia native and graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, serves as president of The Aerospace Technology Group, an aerospace-technology and business-consulting organization that specializes in aviation and space-related technology development, analysis, and marketing. He discussed his work with NASA, for whom he served as a mission specialist and payload commander on four Space Shuttle flights, and answered questions from audience members.

Prior to joining ATG, Bluford served as vice president of Microgravity Research and Development and Operations for Northrop Grumman Corp. and program manager of the NASA Glenn Research Center’s Microgravity Research, Development and Operations Contract. In that capacity, Bluford was responsible for the design, development, integration and operational support of the NASA Fluids and Combustion Facility and associated space-flight-experiment hardware for the International Space Station. He also held senior management positions with Federal Data Corp. and NYMA Inc.

Bluford served 29 years in the Air Force as a tactical fighter pilot, instructor pilot, staff-development engineer and chief of the Aerodynamics and Airframe Branch of the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Penn State; master’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology; and a master of business administration degree from the University of Houston.

For more information about the aviation programs offered by the School of Transportation Technology at Penn College, call (570) 327-4516, send e-mail or visit on the Web.

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