MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A West Virginia University flag that was carried into space will return to Morgantown this weekend.
Col. Mike Fincke, a NASA astronaut, will present the flag that flew during the last Space Shuttle Endeavour mission to the WVU Alumni Association during WVU’s Saturday game against No. 11 Oklahoma State at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Fincke served as STS-134′s mission specialist on Endeavour’s flight deck and as one of the spacewalkers/robotics arm operators. The STS-134 crew delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station.
In all, Fincke has spent 381 days, 15 hours and 11 minutes in orbit, which is the American record, during three total missions and has also logged 48 hours and 27 minutes of EVA, extra-vehicular activity outside of spacecraft, on nine spacewalks.
Fincke said he likes the view from space. “You look out the window and we have the most beautiful planet in the whole solar system, perhaps in the whole universe,” he said.
“One of the most beautiful parts of our planet, and I’m not kidding you, is this area of the country, West Virginia, wild and wonderful.”
Col. Fincke, a guest on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” is originally from western Pennsylvania. He said he is a Mountaineer fan, but it was his friend Judy Hayes, a WVU alum who also works at NASA, who suggested that he take the WVU flag into space.
Following Saturday’s presentation ceremony, the flag will be permanently displayed at the Erickson Alumni Center.
Fincke was in Morgantown Friday to meeting with WVU faculty, staff and students and members of the Morgantown community to talk about his experiences with NASA.