First Aggie Ring In Space Donated To Aerospace Engineering
Civil engineering graduate Patrick Brand (’81) became the first to send an Aggie Ring into space when his father, Vance D. Brand, carried it as commander of Space Shuttle Columbia Mission STS-5 in November 1982. The ring was on board as the shuttle completed 81 orbits — a distance of 2,110,849 miles.
Twenty-five years later, Brand donated his well-traveled class ring as a gift to the aerospace engineering department, personally delivering the ring, logbook and mission patch of the historic flight.
“I felt that the students at A&M would appreciate what it meant and could gain some inspiration from it. It was only logical that it go to the Aeronautical Engineering department. The time was right to donate it back to where it came from,” Brand says.
“Students are still awestruck with the ring,” says Helen Reed, professor and head of aerospace engineering. “And it will be treasured by the aerospace engineering department. It serves as an inspiration and reminds them that they can achieve great things.” Brand is executive vice president of Blade Energy Partners, which has been recognized as one of the top 100 Aggie owned and operated companies in the nation.