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Scott "Scooter" Altman

Growing up in the Midwest, Scott Altman’s earliest memories are dreams of flying and becoming a pilot. Chasing that dream has taken him from small planes in Illinois to flying fighters off aircraft carriers and flying in the movie Top Gun, to flying four space shuttle missions. Scott takes us on the exciting journey of becoming a fighter pilot, intercepting a Russian aircraft outside Vladivostok, performing test flights of the new F-14D and ultimately becoming an astronaut. Along the way, he shares lessons learned about overcoming obstacles, creating high performing teams and working together to accomplish what some thought was impossible.

2018:  Inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame.

2015: Named Chief Operating Officer for Engineering and Aerospace Solutions (EAS) Group, leading operational efforts providing Systems Engineering and full mission life cycle services to a variety of Federal agencies, including NASA, NOAA, the US Air Force, US Army and the US Navy.

Served as an astronaut on four space shuttle missions:

  • 2009: as commander aboard space shuttle Atlantis for STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, during which the crew performed five spacewalks to extend the life of the orbiting observatory by replacing cameras, a guidance sensor, gyroscopes and battery units.
  • 2002: as commander aboard space shuttle Columbia for STS-109, the fourth Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. The mission’s series of spacewalks to install the new and upgraded equipment set a new record for a single shuttle mission with a total time of 35 hours, 55 minutes.
  • 2000: as pilot aboard space shuttle Atlantis for STS-106, an 11-day mission to the International Space Station to prepare for the arrival of the first residents, or Expedition.  The mission to the 143-foot-long station focused on unloading nearly three tons of cargo from the orbiter.
  • 1998:  as pilot aboard space shuttle Columbia for STS-90, a 16-day mission of the European Space Agency's Spacelab laboratory to conduct research in neurosciences and expand understanding of how the nervous system develops and functions in space.

1995: Selected by NASA as an astronaut and reported to Johnson Space Center in Houston.

1990: Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School

1986: Attended the US Navy's Top Gun School at Air Station Miramar (stood in for Tom Cruise's character “Maverick” in the 1986 movie, "Top Gun", and flew the F-14 jet in aerobatic flight sequences).

1981: Bachelor of Science Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, University of Illinois

Special Honors:  Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, 1987 Award winner for Outstanding Achievement in Tactical Aviation as selected by the Association of Naval Aviation. NASA awards include the Distinguished Service Medal (NASA’s highest form of recognition), the Outstanding Leadership Medal, the Exceptional Service Medal and four Space Flight Medals.

THINK18 is Clearwater Capital’s premier triennial Thought Leadership event.  We invite you and your guests to join us on Thursday, October 18th for a memorable evening with our friend, Scott “Scooter” Altman. 

In 1986, Paramount Pictures was filming the Tom Cruise movie, Top Gun, and Scott “Scooter” Altman’s squadron at Air Station Miramar was selected to fly the F14 in the movie.

Scott flew the memorable scene where the plane rolls over. While flying upside down, inverted, Altman gives an obscene gesture to the pilot of an enemy plane. "They said go ahead and gesture at the other airplane," said Altman. "So when you're looking at the scene where he's communicating with the Russian, or the bad-guy pilots in the movie, that would be my finger."

Scott also got to do the tower fly by, called a low transition, lighting the afterburners and getting out of dodge, not once but actually nine times. They filmed with people in the tower for the first three takes and then evacuated after that. Scott didn’t think he was that close.

Altman and the other pilots earned $23 a day for their flying skills in the movie.

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Thursday October 18th 6:00 PM

Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center