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When the Space Shuttle Endeavor returns to earth this afternoon at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Old Dominion University alumnus Michael Bloomfield will return from his second space flight and his first as pilot.

During the 10 day flight, which launched Dec. 1, the crew was on a mission the International Space Station to install solar arrays to boost the station's power. Bloomfield, who received a master's of engineering management from Old Dominion in 1993, served as pilot of the mission and was responsible for taking a "beauty shot" of the International Space Station. To do so, he had to undock the shuttle from the Alpha space station and perform a fly around, pause at just the right position and then pitch the shuttle's nose to the correct angle. That maneuver permitted a high-resolution, large-format camera mounted in the shuttle's cargo bay to take pictures of the space station.

"I have to make decisions about eight minutes ahead of time. It's based on a little bit of practice and a little bit of
experience. That's the challenge on this one,'' Bloomfield said in an interview with The Detroit News.

In 1997, Bloomfield made his first space flight to the Russian space station Mir, which delivered astronaut David Wolf to the Russian outpost and brought Mike Foale home after a four-month stay.

To view more information about the mission, visit the Kennedy Space Center Web site at http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/.

This article was posted on: December 11, 2000

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