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Before UT alumnus and NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore turned over the command of the International Space Station in preparation for his return to Earth, he issued a good-bye message that included some love for UT.

Barry Wilmore wears a UT College of Engineering T-shirt while spinning a football aboard the International Space Station. Wilmore earned his master’s in aviation systems from UT’s Space Institute in 1994.

In an e-mail to the College of Engineering, Wilmore thanked everyone for supporting him during his time in space before concluding:

Perhaps our paths will cross one fine day with a Big Orange sun in the sky warming our meeting. Until then …

Go Vols!!

Barry E. Wilmore

Commander, International Space Station

During Wilmore’s six months in space he also filmed a video for UT’s Engineers Day in October.

According to NASA, Wilmore’s most recent mission covered almost 71 million miles. He has now been in space 178 days on two flights, the first of which was a 2009 space shuttle mission.

While Wilmore has returned to Earth, UT’s place in the stars will continue. Scott Kelly, who earned his master’s degree in aviation science from UT, will launch for a one-year mission aboard the space station at the end of March. That will give the university almost 18 consecutive months of having an alumnus in space.


David Goddard (865-974-0683,