Colorado Native and Colorado State Alumnus Commands Shuttle Mission May 20

Note to Editors: Photos of Kent Rominger are available electronically by calling June Greist at (970) 491-6432.

A Colorado native and Colorado State University civil-engineering alumnus will command the space shuttle Discovery mission that will launch May 20.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kent Rominger, a 1978 College of Engineering graduate and Del Norte native, is a veteran pilot of three space flights and has logged more than 1,090 hours in space. As commander of the space shuttle Discovery, Rominger will supervise six crewmembers during a 10-day mission.

Rominger is the fourth person with Colorado State ties to fly on a NASA mission. Marty Fettman, a pathology professor at the university, was the first veterinarian in space as part of a 1993 Space Shuttle mission. In addition, Mary Cleave and James van Hoften, who both earned degrees at Colorado State, flew on multiple NASA missions.

After graduating from Colorado State, Rominger joined the Navy and test pilot school with an eye toward NASA. He said he knew that many NASA pilots were former Navy test pilots and wanted to position himself as a prime candidate. As part of his Navy training, he earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1987.

Rominger was selected by NASA in 1992 and completed extensive space-shuttle training that included flight simulations aboard NASA’s KC-135, an aircraft designed to simulate the absence of gravity experienced by astronauts in space.

Rominger’s wife, Mary Sue Rominger, also is a Colorado State graduate. A Durango native, she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1979. She is a consultant in environmental engineering and a math tutor. The Romingers have a five-year-old daughter.