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Purdue Reps In Florida Hoping For Shuttle Launch

Academics and researchers from Purdue University are among those watching closely as NASA hopesto make its final space shuttle launch in Cape Canaveral today.

Space Shuttle

Photo: courtesy NASA

Space Shuttle Atlantis readies for what's planned as the final launch of the program's 30-year history.

Purdue University president France Cordova, herself an astrophysicist, plans to be in Florida for the space shuttle launch.  Back here in Indiana, Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics head Tom Shih will also be watching.  Shih said despite the Obama administration’s decision to end space shuttle launches, a commitment to commercial space flight innovation will benefit research universities like Purdue.  And he said America’s future in space comes down to a question of resources.

“If we really do want to lead in space, the country has to invest in it,” Shih said.

Shih said the recent changes to the space program haven’t negatively impacted student interest in space at Purdue.  He added enrollment in astronautics at institutions across the country continues to rise.

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