Don Pettit's official astronaut portrait; photo courtesy of NASAThe University of Arizona has seen six of its alumni reach for the stars – literally – as U.S. astronauts.

Among them was Don Pettit, who received his doctorate in chemical engineering from the UA in 1983, where he studied heat, mass and momentum transport and developed instrumentation for measuring the distribution of particles in chemical systems.

For aspiring astronauts, Pettit – who applied for the program four times over 13 years – has this advice: “Put out really good effort in your field, apply to the astronaut program and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” 

Photo courtesy of NASA

University of Arizona College of Engineering