Friday, December 5, 2014

USNA Represented On Orion Launch

On board this morning’s successful launch of Orion were several items from the Naval Academy donated by Distinguished Professor and Robert A. Heinlein Chair Ken Reightler.

NASA photo by Bill Ingalls

Reightler, Naval Academy Class of 1973, former NASA astronaut, and former Lockheed Martin executive, donated a USNA command coin, an Aerospace Engineering Department sticker, a sticker from the academy’s rockets club and a patch from the NASA Launch Challenge Capstone project to represent the Academy’s long history of being on the forefront of space exploration.

The Naval Academy is alma mater to 53 NASA astronauts, the most for any academic institution in the country.

NASA photo by Bill Ingalls

“We look forward to our graduates playing an important role in the journey to Mars and beyond,” said Naval Academy Public Affairs Officer Cmdr. John Schofield. 

After splashdown and recovery of the capsule by U.S. Navy ships, the items will be stored at the Johnson Space Center where they will be certified as having flown on Orion. They will then be returned to the Naval Academy to inspire another generation of space explorers.


  1. What a great story! My son is in his first year at the Naval Academy and plans to major in Aerospace Engineering. It'll will be awesome to have these items back at the academy where he and his fellow Midshipmen can use them for inspiration.

  2. It's pretty cool. If your son doesn't already know it, there's a nice display about the space program and the astronauts USNA has graduated in the Naval Academy Museum, right here in Preble Hall.


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