Hometown Honors Astronaut Altman with Statue
PEKIN – A bronze bust of AE alumnus and former NASA astronaut Scott Altman has been unveiled at the Tazewell County Museum in Altman’s hometown of Pekin, Illinois.
Attending the unveiling ceremony on Sunday, March 13, Altman said he hopes it “will be an inspiration to the next generation.” The $8,000 statue was covered with a black cloth, which artist Morgan Elser pulled off to reveal the bust.
Scott Altman talks about what his hometown community of Pekin, Illinois, has done for him, during the Scott Altman's Bust unveiling on Sunday, March 13, 2011, at the Tazewell County Museum and Educational Center on Court Street. JONI ANDREWS/PEKIN DAILY TIMES STAFF
The bust shows Altman in his flight suit with an American flag on his left shoulder and an F-14 jet on the back. The bust will be part of a special exhibit on space exploration and Altman’s career.
After graduating from Pekin High School in 1977, Altman earned a bachelor’s degree from AE in 1981, then a master’s in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1990.
He was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy in August 1981, and received his Navy wings of gold in February 1983. Based at NAS Miramar, Altman completed two cruises flying the F-14A Tomcat. In August 1987, he was selected for the Navy Test Pilot School and graduated with Test Pilot School Class 97 in June 1990.
Deploying in 1992 with VF-31 and the new F-14D, he was awarded the Navy Air Medal for his role as a strike leader flying over Southern Iraq. Following his return from this deployment, he was selected for the astronaut program. He has logged over 7,000 flight hours in more than 40 types of aircraft.
Altman piloted two space shuttle missions, STS-90 (1998) and STS-106 (2000), and served as mission commander on two others, STS-109 (2002) and STS-125 (2009). Following two years as Shuttle Branch Chief for the Astronaut Office and lead for the Cockpit Avionics Upgrade, he was assigned on temporary duty to NASA Headquarters as Deputy Director, Requirements Division of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate.
On returning to Houston, and following STS-125, he served as the Chief of the Exploration Branch of the Astronaut Office. A veteran of four space flights, Altman has logged over 51 days in space. Altman retired from NASA in September 2010 to join ASRC Research and Technology Solutions in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Altman has achieved a number of honors over his career: the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Strike/Flight Air Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, and the 1987 Association of Naval Aviation’s Outstanding Achievement in Tactical Aviation Award.