April 2, 2010
Kazakhstan - Former Cal State Fullerton track athlete Tracy Caldwell Dyson has returned to outer space.
The NASA astronaut blasted off from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome late Thurday night California time on a mission with Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko that will take them to the international space station until September. They are scheduled to dock on Apr. 4 to bring the crew to six and then be joined two days later by the 7-person crew of the space shuttle Discovery.
Caldwell previously was in the space station via the space shuttle Endeavour in August of 2007. The 1993 Titan graduate in chemistry has been an astronaut since June of 1998. She is the first astronaut born after the first lunar landing.
The Beaumont High School graduate was a sprinter and long jumper for the Titans in the early 1990s. She was a Big West Schholar-Athlete. As an undergradate she designed, constructed and implemented electronics and hardware associated with a laser-ionization, time-of-flight mass spectrometer for studying atmospherically-relevant gas-phase chemistry. She earned her doctorage at UC Davis.
Caldwell was married in November of 2009 to George Dyson. She is also the lead vocalist for the all-astronaut band "Max Q" and lives in Houston. She has a private pilot's license and is conversational in American Sign Language and Russian.