One reason I went to the University of Arizona was that they had a co-op engineering program. This is where a student takes off from a semester of study to go work in their field. You get experience, a preview of your career, and some money. I needed to help finance my way through school and this would prove to be very helpful on my resume. A student from Purdue transferred to the UofA and brought his connections to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center with him. I was accepted into this program in my sophomore year, after only a single semester in Tucson.

So there I was in Alabama, still a teenager but now a NASA employee. Pretty cool for a kid who just a few years earlier discovered free NASA photos in his cousin’s bedroom.

Mike in the Skylab mock-up in Huntsville, 1973

I spent three semesters at Marshall, from 1973 to 1975. These were six month stints, from January until June. This span included the launch of Skylab, which was a Marshall program. I ran into Werner von Braun in an elevator, and with some other co-ops, went to the Apollo-Soyuz launch in 1975. This was the last Saturn rocket to be launched.

1975-0715 ASTP sm
ASTP Launch, July 15, 1975