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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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Biologists look to the stars

English: An astronaut training in the Neutral ...
English: An astronaut training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the NASA Johnson Space Center Houston. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever dreamt of becoming an astronaut? Colorado State University can help you achieve just that, or at least provide you with additional knowledge and skills that can help make your dreams come true.

In fact, NASA astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren was a student at CSU who earned his Master’s Degree in Cardiovascular Physiology. He wrote his thesis about blood pressure thigh cuffs, which he will implement during his travel to the International Space Station next spring. The cuffs are designed to limit the shifts in body fluid when traveling in space.


Before the upcoming trip to the International Space Station, he made a short stop at CSU. He took a tour around campus and met with his old professors as well as staff in CSU’s President Office. He stated that coming back to CSU brought back intense memories. He went on and explained that a lot of his basic skills of critical thinking and research were founded during the time here at CSU. He gushed about enjoying being at the university.

The medical doctor is currently stationed at NASA Johnson Space Center. His ambition is to make the journey to a space station, which was inspired by Joseph F. Shea, manager of the Apollo Program. At this point it seems that his dream journey will become a reality as he is already scheduled to fly to the International Space Station. He will be spending six months at the Station doing research and maintenance work. No doubt it will be quite an experience for him.

His dream of becoming an astronaut was partially ignited by taking a class with Dr. Marty Fettman, a physiology professor at CSU. Marty Fettman first became faculty at CSU from 1982 to 1986 in the Department of Pathology of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Biology with duties ranging from research and teaching to clinical service. Appointed as a NASA payload specialist, personnel trained to perform on a NASA Shuttle mission of a specific carrying capacity, in 1991, Fettman flew STS-58 in 1993.

Lindgren will be participating in a NASA twin study with an associate professor Susan Bailey from the CSU’s Department of Environment and Radiological Health Sciences. The project involves Scott Kelly, who will spend a year in space while scientists examine the how space impacts his body, while his twin Mark will remain on Earth as the experiment’s controlled variable.

Throughout his life, Lindgren acquired a Bachelor’s in Biology and a Master’s in Public Heath at different universities. Fortunately, the aforementioned degrees are also available at CSU.  In other words, your dream of being an astronaut can be realized by attending CSU. The truth is Colorado State can be an excellent start or complement to your aerospace career.

Even though most Biology majors don’t go on and become astronauts, you can still think about the possibilities of working in space and how cool that is. Working in space can be life passion and it can provide you with experiences that you can never forget.  The question is: has anyone inspired you to become an astronaut?

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