An Iowa native served as a medic on the shuttle mission that ended tragically this weekend. Born October 3rd, 1961, in Ames, Laurel Salton attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison and got a bachelors’ in zoology and then a medical degree there, before going on to become a Navy commander and flight surgeon. She served with a submarine squadron and Marines before becoming a NASA astronaut in 1996. 41-year-old Laurel Clark, married with one child, was chosen from a pool of more than 100 astronauts for this science-heavy mission with some 80 experiments on board. Clark’s aunt and uncle, Betty and Doug Haviland of Ames, say they had a sense of deja vu this weekend, watching on television as the shuttle disintegrated — their niece’s final moments. The Haviland’s son died in the World Trade Center on 9-11, and they watched on television as the towers collapsed. The Havilands received an email from their niece on Friday night, saying she’d had a wonderful 16-day trip in outer space and was looking forward to her return.
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