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Jennifer Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, September 2, 2009

NASA astronaut requests IU fight song wakeup call

Sept. 2, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- NASA's Discovery space shuttle heard a special wakeup call Tuesday morning (Sept. 1, 2009).

STS-128 Pilot Kevin Ford, a NASA pilot since 2000 who embarked upon his first space mission as pilot yesterday, requested that Houston play "Indiana, Our Indiana," in honor of his late brother, David C. Ford, an Indiana University alumnus and former state senator. The astronauts were preparing for the first of three space walks planned for the mission, which will include the removal of a depleted amonia tank for return, installation of the new tank assembly and retrieval of a materials processing experiment outside the European Space Agency's Columbus module.

Kevin Ford

Kevin Ford

"Good morning, Houston," said Kevin Ford from aboard Discovery after hearing the song. "Thank you for the wakeup music. That song reminds me of my wonderful home state of Indiana . . . also reminds me of my oldest brother, David, who was the first one to ever strap me in to the cockpit of an airplane."

IU President Michael McRobbie posthumously presented Indiana State Senator David C. Ford (1949-2008) with the IU President's medal last year in honor of his contributions to IU, particularly in the area of technology.

David Ford (1949-2008) was from Hartford City, Ind., and represented District 19 as a four-term lawmaker who served as Assistant Majority Floor Leader and chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technology.

Sen. David Ford

Sen. David Ford

Print-Quality Photo

"I will always think that my role in GIS has been one of my proudest contributions to Indiana," Sen. David Ford wrote in a personal correspondence in February of 2008.

The Indiana Geographic Information Council recently created The David C. Ford Special Achievement Award to an individual or organization "for exemplary service, dedication, and accomplishment in coordinating Indiana GIS through dissemination of data and data products, education and outreach, adoption of standards, building partnerships, and advancing the IndianaMap."

David and Kevin's sister, Nancy Richardson, said her late brother was always proud of his affiliation with IU. "He attended the homecoming football game at IU in the Fall of 2007 to march with the Marching Hundred alumni band that he enjoyed so much," she said. "He felt so privileged to be able to give back to the university. That is why Kevin knew that this was a great way to honor David. I'm pleased that David was once again able to pay tribute to IU through Kevin's thoughtfulness and consideration. David has been such a great influence in our lives and we will be forever in his debt to repay his kindness to us."

A YouTube video of the wakeup call can be viewed at