...with Embry-Riddle apparel and gifts only from the ERAU Bookstore \xa\xc\x8\x8\x7\x9\xb \xe\x7\xc\x9 \xb\x3\x9 \x3\xd\x3\x9\xe \x2\x4\x3 0575CB052208A 14 LIFT FALL 2008 """.ERAUalu d ei. frg 14 LIFT FALL 2008 """.ERAUalu d ei. frg How An EmbRy- RIddLE EdUcATIon pREpAREd AsTRonAUT Benjamin alvin Drew ( 995, ww) FoR TAkE-oFF www.ERAUalumni.org FALL 2008 LIFT 15 www.ERAUalumni.org FALL 2008 LIFT 15 B BenjAmin ALvin Drew didn 9t always want to be an astronaut. It wasn 9t until he saw the Apollo 11 crew land on the moon at the cripe old age d of 6 that he knew he wanted to 8y in space. Inspired and ready for take-off, Drew quickly discovered that the means to the dream began in the classroom.
cPeople told me that I needed to hit the books, d he recalls, cand study everything. d Fast-forward 32 years to August 2007. With two bachelor 9s and two master 9s degrees under his belt, Embry-Riddle 4Worldwide alumnus Col. Benjamin Alvin Drew achieved his dream, logging more than 305 hours on Space Shuttle Endeavour during his 7rst space8ight on Mission STS-118.
On Feb. 5, 2008, at the Daytona Beach Campus, Drew shared his inspirational story with the Embry-Riddle community as the guest of ... more. less.
honor at Embry-Riddle 9s 7rst Black History Month Banquet. The Air Force colonel then took some time to speak with Lift about his years at Embry-Riddle 4and how it helped launch him into space.<br><br> Interviewed by Odartey Williams ( 904, DB) Inset: Space Shuttle Endeavour is docked to the Space Station 9s Destiny laboratory in a photo taken during the mission 9s third space- walk on Aug. 15, 2007. Col.<br><br> Benjamin Alvin Drew enjoys the weightlessness of space travel. Space photographs courtesy of NASA 16 LIFT FALL 2008 www.ERAUalumni.org 16 LIFT FALL 2008 www.ERAUalumni.org Lift: Why did you choose Embry-Riddle 4Worldwide to pursue your graduate studies? Col.<br><br> Drew: It was the time in my career when I was ready to get an advanced degree. I was out in Las Vegas and Embry-Riddle had a campus there. It was the only univer- sity offering the technical degree I was after.<br><br> I was coming out of Aerospace as an undergraduate, and I wanted to further that education. Embry-Riddle had a wide range of courses and instructors with a very good reputation. Lift: How did your degree -rom Embry- Riddle 4Worldwide help you achieve your goals?<br><br> Col. Drew: First off, it got me my degree so that I could continue to grow up in the Air Force. Second, at the time, I was running a test squadron working as a test pilot in the Air Force and it helped me a lot in terms of getting reacquainted with all the theory and the technology behind what I was testing.<br><br> The same thing is true as an astronaut. You do a lot of the same things 4testing, working with technology 4 and having those courses helped me out. Lift: What was your role in Mission STS-118?<br><br> Col. Drew: My primary role was Cargo Transfer. We had about 5,000 pounds of equipment 4from experiments, clothes, food, water, air and supplies for the Space Station 4that had to be transported up there.<br><br> Also, I had about 4,000 pounds of gear to bring back down: experiments we didn 9t want to just throw away and things we like to recycle and eventually take back up to space. That 9s one of the few things the Shuttle does that no other spacecraft can do: bring down high-value items [that are] to be returned to space. So I got to be the moving man for 10 straight days with my clipboard and checklist.<br><br> Lift: From a pilot 9s perspective, what does it -eel like to take o-- in the Space Shuttle? Col. Drew: It is not quite like anything you 9ve ever experienced before in an air- plane.<br><br> First, the take-off is vertical, which is a little bit rare 4unless you 9re used to it in helicopters. The acceleration is constant all the way up until you get to 17,500 miles an hour, and so you are being pressed in your seat. For those familiar with after- burners, it 9s a lot like an afterburner climb, or take-off, for eight-and-a-half minutes.<br><br> And the rumble! Just the amount of power being unleashed when the solid rocket boosters ignite. The best way to describe it is feeling like a million subwoofers under your couch are suddenly going off at once.<br><br> You just feel the vibration. It shakes you right to your bones. Lift: How does it -eel looking back at Earth -rom space?<br><br> Col. Drew: It is breathtaking. I am sure you have seen a million pictures of the Earth from space.<br><br> To be in that scene, to be immersed, to see the blackness of the sky, that thin shell of atmosphere that separates us from the void of space, and the planet moving underneath you at 17,000 miles an hour. It 9s very fast, and it feels like it when you are up there. It just stops you in your tracks.<br><br> Lift: Was the mission everything you thought it was going to be? Col. Drew: It was exactly like I thought it would be, which sur- prised me.<br><br> Most everything else I 9ve done in aviation, there 9s always been some surprise. But three or four days into this mission, it occurred to me that there really were no sur- prises: the views were spectacular like I thought, being weightless was like I thought it was going to be. And I thought about it: Why am I not surprised?<br><br> Then I 8gured out that I had been in the of8ce for seven years with 100 other astronauts, each coming back and telling me exactly how it works 4so I had a realistic set of expectations before I left. Col. Alvin Benjamin Drew ( 995, WW) " Command pilot with 3,300 hours ying time in more than 30 types o- aircra-t.<br><br> " Flew nearly 90 combat missions between the invasion o- Panama and the frst Gul- War, including operations JUST CAUSE, DESERT SHIELD/ DESERT STORM and PROVIDE COMFORT. " Traveled 5.3 million miles over 12 days, 17 hours, 55 minutes and 34 seconds on Space Shuttle Mission STS-118. While the guest o 3 honor at Embry-Riddle 9s frst Black History Month Banquet, Drew pauses to sign an autograph 3or Simon Kimana, an Embry-Riddle student.<br><br> www.ERAUalumni.org FALL 2008 LIFT 17 www.ERAUalumni.org FALL 2008 LIFT 17 Looking back, I wish I had written what I thought space would be like 4before I had the chance to be ccorrupted d by the astro- naut crew [laughs] 4to see how that jibed with what I really experienced. Lift: What message do you have for students thinking about pursuing an Embry-Riddle degree? Col.<br><br> Drew: If you have passion for aviation, no matter what aspect of it, this is the place to go do that. The instructors, the faculty, the staff and fellow students understand it. It 9s a place where you can go network and be in that community with people who have a real passion for aviation.<br><br> I studied as an undergrad at the Air Force Academy, which had much the same thing, where you are around people who understand what you are after and can help you get down that path. This is one of the very few places in your education where you can make that happen. Lift: And what about those students who dream of becoming an astronaut?<br><br> What advice would you give them? Col. Drew: If you want to become an astro- naut, apply to be an astronaut.<br><br> Applications are free. It takes a few hours to -ll out the stack of papers that they give you. Also, you have to practice being an astronaut.<br><br> It is a long process, but you may be surprised. Even if you think you don 9t have the education yet, you should still apply, because they 9ll write you back and let you know what 9s weak in your résumé. I applied back in 2000 with the intent of learning what would keep me from becoming an astronaut.<br><br> I had no inclination that they would hire me! It shows what I know. Lift: What message do you have for your fellow Embry-Riddle alumni?<br><br> Col. Drew: cKeep it .ying. d c If you have passion for aviation, no matter what aspect of it, Embry-Riddle is the place to go do that. d