From schooner ships to space shuttles, Polytechnic University alumni have built, maintained and piloted some of the most advanced transportation vessels known to humankind. In July 2005, Charles J. Camarda '74, a graduate of Polytechnic's Aerospace Engineering program, fulfilled a lifelong dream as a Mission Specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-114. A recipient of over 21 NASA awards for technical innovations and accomplishments, Camarda played an integral role in developing a repair system and new safety procedures for America's return to space. After a 2 ½ year hiatus on the ground, Camarda and six crew members successfully re-launched NASA's space program after the Columbia disaster. In Camarda's words, "I think everyone of us understands space flight is risky. We feel, and I feel, it's important that we take those risks for the future of space, and for the future of the development of technology to help us on the planet Earth."