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Former astronaut a leader in Wisconsin Spaceport

Madison, Wis. - Viroqua native Mark Lee was only a teenager when American innovation put men on the moon. But by the time Apollo 11 mission commander Neil Armstrong and Col. Buzz Aldrin stepped out of the lunar module to trample the scientific aspirations of their Soviet counterparts, Lee's desire to be an astronaut was already deeply ingrained.

His dream coalesced around an earlie......

Full article >>> -formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1959 for Project Mercury. Joining him was another heroic figure, Wisconsin native Donald "Deke" Slayton from Sparta. The Wisconsinite in a spacesuit further spurred Lee's imagination.

It would only be a matter of time before Lee would earn the gold wings awarded......

Full article >>> first semester, Lee looked at how he fell in the rankings and his confidence grew. Competing with some of most physically and intellectually gifted people in the country taught Lee he could do almost anything.

After earning his bachelors degree in civil engineering, he went on to pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas and flew F-4 figh......

Full article >>> go up and have something go wrong, it's you're going to fly and things are going to be successful," he said.

Lee's second mission in 1992 kept him in space for the longest continuous period, almost 11 days. Aboard the Endeavor, Lee served as payload commander on a cooperative mission with Japan involving 44 life science and materials processing experiments.

Lee said he tru......

Full article >>> have anything jutting out like Cape Canaveral," he added, but already players are emerging to invest in Wisconsin's first steps into space.

"Wisconsin is seen as a place that can contribute greatly to the research community, and space is just a new frontier," Lee said, pointing out that the WAA is no burden to taxpayers and eventually the programs they will sponsor will help the state su......

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'"/> By Chris Fleissner 08/04/06

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