SEATTLE, June 17, 2009--On June 26, 2009, at a ceremony beginning at 10 a.m., The Museum of Flight will dedicate a statue honoring Space Shuttle Columbia astronaut and Washington state native, Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson. The slightly larger than life-size bronze statue will be situated in a newly lanscaped area on the west side of the Museum's main campus between the Red Barn® and Personal Courage Wing exhibition buildings. The statue is a duplicate of one erected in Spokane, Wash. in 2005. Anderson was the Payload Commander on the STS-107 Columbia mission lost during re-entry on Feb. 1, 2003.
Members of the Anderson family will attend the ceremony as will many of his friends and colleagues. Maj. Kimberly Scott, who served on the Michael Anderson Memorial Campaign, will serve as master of ceremonies for the dedication ceremony. Museum President and CEO Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, who flew with Anderson on Space Shuttle mission STS-89 in 1998, will also participate in the ceremony. Guests include members of the Anderson family. An Air Force C-17, stationed at McChord Air Force Base, will perform a fly-by, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Baptist Church Choir, from Renton, Wash. will sing during the ceremony.
Anderson, a native of Cheney, WA, graduated from Cheney High School in Cheney, Wash. in 1977. He entered the University of Washington where he was a member of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and earned his bachelor of science degree in physics/astronomy in 1981. After graduating from the University of Washington, Anderson was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force and assigned to Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. He earned his master of science degree in physics from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. in 1990. Anderson was selected as an astronaut by NASA in December 1994 and had a number of technical assignments before being assigned as a Mission Specialist on STS-89, Space Shuttle Endeavour, the eighth docking mission to the Russian space station, MIR. He was later assigned to STS-107 as the Payload Commander. The mission was lost during re-entry on Feb. 1, 2003. Business and civic leaders in Seattle and Spokane funded the memorial statue to honor the life and achievements of Lt. Col Anderson. Maj. Gen. Harold "Mitch" Michell (USAF) served as the chairman of the Michael Anderson Memorial Campaign. The statue is designed to serve as an inspiration for children to follow their dreams. Education was an important priority for Col. Anderson. The statue will be located at the Museum site where school buses and children's groups enter through the Red Barn® exhibition building and is visible from the T. Evans Wyckoff Memorial Bridge spanning East Marginal Way. Other funds raised through the campaign created The Michael Anderson Memorial Aerospace Scholarship for Children of Color. This special fund, awarded through the Museum of Flight, will help underserved children to attend educational programs at The Museum of Flight and is intended to help to inspire an interest in science, technology, engineering and math--STEM--education and careers.