UC Berkeley Web Feature
Keeping an eye on Cal – from space
BERKELEY – Many Cal alums like to check up on the old alma mater every now and again, but chemical engineering grad Leroy Chiao gets to do so from a unique vantage point — the International Space Station.
Chiao, who graduated from UC Berkeley in 1983, is currently serving a six-month stint as mission commander of a joint U.S.-Russian crew aboard the space station. While in orbit, has had to deal with a threatened food shortage (eased by the timely arrival of an unmanned Russian resupply ship) in addition to taking a spacewalk, performing maintenance tasks and a host of scientific experiments, and packing hardware for eventual return to Earth aboard the Space Shuttle.
In late January, while the Space Station was passing over the West Coast of the United States, Chiao snapped the photo above, using a 400mm telephoto lens from an altitude of about 220 miles. Chiao sent the photo to fellow NASA astronaut (and fellow Berkeley alum) Rex Walheim, who in turn forwarded a copy to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. Walheim (Mechanical Engineering '84) said Chiao "had a lot of fun talking to the Cal football team [from the Space Station] before the Holiday Bowl," and added that "Leroy and I are both very proud of Cal."
- Latest news from Chiao's International Space Station mission
- Chiao's NASA biography
- Higher than cloud 9: alumnus Rex Walheim flies Cal flag in space
- For a full-size downloadable version of the Berkeley photo, suitable for desktop wallpaper, follow this link (7.7Mb JPG file)