Campbellsville University to host NASA astronaut Leland Melvin Sept. 26-28

Sept. 7, 2010
For Immediate Release

By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Leland Melvin, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut, will be a guest speaker at Campbellsville University during a three-day visit Sept. 26-28.

Melvin will speak at several events on campus including an address to students at FIRST CLASS at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 27 in Ransdell Chapel, 401 N. Hoskins Ave., Campbellsville, and a separate event to follow from noon to 1 p.m. in Ransdell Chapel. Both are open to the public.

 Leland Melvin

 Leland Melvin

He will also address the President’s Club Sept. 27 as the keynote speaker, speak to the Board of Trustees, appear on John Chowning’s Dialogue on Public Issues TV program on WLCU and speak to the Fighting Tiger football team.

His addresses will concern his experiences at NASA from 1989 as a researcher through 2008 where he has experienced two in-space missions as flight engineer and astronaut including his mission to the International Space Station in November 2009.

Melvin was selected by NASA JSC in June 1998 and is the veteran of two space flights, the Atlantis in 2008 which was the 24th shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station, and the mission in November 2009 which was the 31st shuttle flight to the International Space Station during which astronaut, Nicole Stott, was brought home following her tour of duty aboard the Space Station.

Melvin, 46, has logged over 565 hours in space.

Melvin began working in the Fiber Optic Sensors group of the Nondestructive Evaluation Sciences Branch at NASA Langley Research Center in 1989 where he conducted research in the area of physical measurements for the development of advanced instrumentation for Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE).

In 1994, Melvin was selected to lead the Vehicle Health Monitoring (VHM) team for the cooperative Lockheed/NASA X-33 Reuseable Launch Vehicle (RLV) program. The team developed distributed fiber optic strain, temperature and hydrogen sensors for the reduction of vehicle operational costs and to monitor composite liquid oxygen tank and cryogenic insulation performance.

In 1996, Melvin co-designed and monitored construction of an optical NDE facility capable of producing in-line fiber optic Bragg grating strain sensors at rates in excess of 1,000 per hour. This facility will provide a means for performing advanced sensor and laser research for development of aerospace and civil health monitoring systems.

Melvin was presented the Invention Disclosure Award for Lead Insensitive Fiber Optic Phase Locked Loop Sensor and has received eight NASA Outstanding Performance Awards and two NASA Superior Accomplishment Awards, the key to the City of Lynchburg, Va., and was named NCAA Division I Academic All American and is a member of the University of Richmond Athletic Hall of Fame.

Melvin is a graduate of the University of Richmond where he received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1986. He was a wide receiver on the University of Richmond football team from 1982 to 1985. He was chosen by the Detroit Lions in the 11th round of the 1986 NFL college draft but didn’t get to play because of hamstring problems. He has also participated in the Toronto Argonauts and Dallas Cowboys football training camps.

He received his Master of Science Degree in Materials Science Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1991. He graduated from Heritage High School in Lynchburg, Va., in 1982.

He belongs to the National Technical Association (Hampton Roads Chapter Secretary 1993), the American Chemical Society and The Society for Experimental Mechanics.

Melvin’s recreational interests include photography, piano, reading, music, cycling, tennis and snowboarding. His parents, Deems and Grace Melvin, reside in Lynchburg.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 students offering 45 undergraduate programs, 16 master’s degrees and five postgraduate areas. The website for complete information is

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