NASA Astronaut visits CRLS and RSTA

Former NASA Astronaut Frederick “Rick” Hauck addressed several hundred students from RSTA and CRLS science classes on May 7th in the Fitzgerald Auditorium.

Capt. Hauck, a retired U.S. Navy pilot and Vietnam War combat veteran, is also the uncle of RSTA engineering teacher Conrad Hauck.

 Conrad Hauck (CRLS Class of ‘83) began teaching at RSTA six years ago and had long been planning to bring his “Uncle Rick” to speak to CRLS students about the highly complex and daunting work of  Astro-aeronautical engineering.

Capt. Hauck presented an awe-inspiring power point production entitled From Earth To Mars, which featured graphic illustrations and video clips of NASA’s long journey from the earliest Apollo flights and astronauts’ moon walks, to building the International Space Station. The power point also included dramatic depictions of NASA’s future plans to return to the Moon and place American astronauts on Mars. His presentation included innumerable photographs and video clips from each of Capt. Hauck’s three spaceflights on NASA Shuttle missions.

Capt. Hauck first flew on the seventh shuttle mission in July of ‘83. He flew on the orbiter Challenger flight alongside astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly on a Shuttle mission.  NASA assigned Capt. Hauck to be flight commander on two subsequent space shuttle missions. Both were risky firsts: In 1984 he commanded a mission that launched two large satellites, and was the first to retrieve two satellites to be salvaged and returned to earth.  In 1988 Capt Hauck commanded the first flight mission after the Challenger explosion.

After a 40 minute presentation, Capt. Hauck provided a 20 minute Question-and- Answer period to answer students concerns and curiosity about past, present, and future space flight.

At the end of the assembly he presented a large photography book of NASA’s Space Shuttle program personally autographed to RSTA students and faculty.

Earlier in the day Capt. Hauck visited his nephew, Conrad Hauck’s engineering classes, and paid an extensive visit to the auto-mechanic and engineering shops. He was impressed with both, calling them “state-of-the-art” labs for teaching technology and engineering to high school students.

Capt. Hauck now lives in Portland, Maine, having retired as CEO of AXA insurance group, a company that specializes in underwriting insurance for the risk of launching and operating satellites.

-special thanks to Larry Aaronson for this report.

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