NASA astronaut, who helped UND place ISSAC aboard space station, lectures here Friday

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences


Former NASA astronaut Mario Runco, who served on several Shuttle missions and spent several hundred hours in space, will deliver a public lecture at the University of North Dakota John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 25, in the Clifford Hall 210 (lecture bowl).

Runco was invited to campus in conjunction with the Space Studies 570 class, titled "Earth Observations from the International Space Station", taught this semester by Jagan Ranganathan. Runco's presentation is free and open to the public.

At the Kennedy Space Center following his retirement from the active astronaut corps, Runco assisted in preparing space Shuttle missions for launch and in the Mission Control Center as a Capsule (Spacecraft) Communicator (CAPCOM).

Runco currently serves as an Earth and planetary scientist. He also is the lead for Science and Utilization of the International Space Station's Destiny Module Science Window and the Window Observational Research Facility (WORF), both of which he helped design. WORF housed the UND ISSAC (International Space Station Agricultural Camera), which was designed and built by UND students. It was operated from a control center in Clifford Hall by the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium in the UND Department of Earth System Science and Policy.

Runco, who also has worked as a research hydrologist, joined NASA in 1987 and remained on active duty as a NASA astronaut until 1994.