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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2005 / 11 

Virginia Tech astronaut returns to campus for Jewish Film Festival

November 4, 2005

Charles Camarda, who completed his Ph.D in aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech in 1990, was aboard NASA’s most recent Space Shuttle Discovery mission in August when it docked with the International Space Station. Camarda returns to campus on Tuesday, Nov. 8, to serve as a panelist following the showing of “Columbia: The Tragic Loss,” an examination of the 2004 Columbia Space Shuttle disaster and a poignant tribute to Colonel Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut ever to venture into outer space.

The documentary is the culminating event of Virginia Tech’s three-day Jewish Film Festival, and will be held in Colonial Hall in the Squires Student Center at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

This film features family interviews and a wealth of archival materials, including never-before-seen footage from the mission, and Ramon’s own diary, miraculously retrieved from the crash debris. Camarda and four Virginia Tech engineering faculty (Wayne Scales, Rakesh Kapania, Hanspeter Schaub and Christopher Hall) will lead a panel discussion following the film with NASA approved ice cream and ‘space snacks.’

NASA selected Camarda as an astronaut candidate in 1996. He has earned a dozen certificates of recognition from NASA as well as two Sustained Superior Performance Awards and two Special Achievement Awards along with several other distinguished designations.

For more info on the Jewish film festival at Virginia Tech, go to