Native Pekinite Capt. Scott Altman received high honors on April 21 as NASA inducted him into the U.S. Astronaut’s Hall of Fame with a ceremony at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Altman is in good company following 97 other American astronauts receiving the same place in history. 

According to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, six surviving astronauts from Mercury 7 established the U.S. Astronaut’s Hall of Fame to recognize science and aeronautical accomplishments by America’s finest astronauts. Altman earned his place in the U.S. Astronauts Hall of Fame with his illustrious and progressive career in flight and space. To be considered for such an honor, an astronaut must have made their first flight 17 years before the induction and serve as a NASA trained commander pilot, or mission specialist, orbiting the earth in space as least once, according to the foundation.

“I am incredibly thrilled and honored to be inducted to the Hall of Fame,” said Altman. “To be included with the great names of Spaceflight like Neil Armstrong, John Young, Gordon Fullerton and so many others is amazing to me. I have to also thank so many people who have worked with me across the country, all dedicated to making our achievements in space possible. Space truly is a team effort, and I am tremendously grateful to be a part of such an amazing team.”

Capt. Scott Altman has also been recognized for in his hometown accomplishments. He has an elementary school bearing his name, Altman Primary School at 1730 Highwood Ave. Altman began his path to space and ultimately the U.S. Astronauts Hall of Fame at Edison Junior High School in Pekin. He went on to the University of Illinois to study aeronautical and astronautical engineering, according to astronautscholarship.org. He pursued his passion for flight, entering the Navy and rising to the rank of captain.

Altman has been honored with several awards over the years, according to astronautscholarship.org. He was also stationed with the Navy in southern California when the 1986 classic “Top Gun” was filmed. According to a 2009 CNN interview, Altman was chosen by his commanding officer to fly in one of the film’s most memorable scenes, where a Navy pilot buzzed the base tower. Altman said in the 2009 interview, “That would never happen in real life.” In the same CNN interview, Altman admitted that, “Flying a space shuttle is a little more challenging than what we did in the movie, although the flying was a lot of fun.”

Altman racked up even more accomplishments with his many flights to space. He was selected in 1995 as an astronaut candidate, according to a recent press release from Kennedy Space Center. With his vast leadership experience in the Navy, he clocked several hours in space on four separate shuttle missions. Altman satisfied his insatiable curiosity for science with research in space as well as studying the effects of microgravity on the human brain and nervous system.

Throughout his time with NASA, Altman was awarded many commendations for his research advances and studies in flight and space. April 21 was the culmination of a lifetime achievement award for astronauts as he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Although Altman officially retired from NASA in 2010 to accept a position with ASRC Aerospace Corporation, he continues to work for progress in space exploration.