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Liberty photograph flies high in space

January 8, 2010 : Mitzi Bible

NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, a Lynchburg native, recently sent LU’s School of Aeronautics’ dean, Dave Young, a picture from space — with a symbol of LU along for the ride.

The picture was taken in November aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis on Melvin’s second space mission and shows a photograph taken by LU senior staff photographer Les Schofer, featuring a School of Aeronautics pilot flying over the LU monogram on Liberty Mountain, at one of the shuttle’s ports. Melvin also took with him the School of Aeronautics patch.

“The School of Aeronautics is honored that Leland chose our patch to take into space," Young said at the time of the launch. "He is a wonderful example to our students of what can be achieved through faith and hard work.”

In a recent email to Young, Melvin said he was “honored to fly the Liberty Aviation patch/picture and hope these flown items will bring a little inspiration to future Liberty astronauts.”

In Lynchburg, the community — including Liberty University — has dubbed Melvin a “hometown hero.” At Liberty’s April 7, 2008, convocation, Melvin was honored by Lynchburg Mayor Joan Foster, who read a proclamation declaring “Monday, April 7, 2008, Leland Melvin Day.” Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. said Melvin’s visit was significant for Liberty and for the city of Lynchburg.

“It’s great for Liberty and the city to recognize a local hero. Liberty’s becoming a more integral part of the city and this is part of that.”

For more information, visit Liberty’s News & Events webpage.