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Ed Lu

Edward T. Lu
NASA Astronaut
Native name
Nationality American
Status Retired
Born (1963-07-01) July 1, 1963
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Other occupation
Time in space
205d 23h 18m
Selection 1994 NASA Group
Missions STS-84, STS-106, Soyuz TMA-2 (Expedition 7)
Mission insignia

Edward Tsang "Ed" Lu (Chinese: 盧傑; pinyin: Lú Jié; born July 1, 1963) is a U.S. physicist and a former NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions and an extended stay aboard the International Space Station.[1]

In 2007 Lu retired from NASA to become the Program Manager on Google's Advanced Projects Team.[2][3] While still at NASA during 2002 Lu co-founded the B612 Foundation, dedicated to protecting the Earth from asteroid strikes, later serving as its Chair. As of 2014 he is currently its Chief Executive Officer.[4][1]


  • Education 1
  • NASA career 2
  • Magic trick in space 3
  • After NASA 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Raised in Webster, New York, to a Chinese family. Lu attended R. L. Thomas High School, where he was a member of the wrestling team and graduated in 1980. Later, Lu earned a degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University where he lettered in wrestling. He then received a doctoral degree in applied physics from Stanford University in 1989.[1] Lu is a member of the Psi chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at Cornell.

Lu became a specialist in solar physics and did postdoctoral work at the Institute for Astronomy in Honolulu, Hawaii before being selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1994.[1]

NASA career

Lu flew on space shuttle missions STS-84 in 1997 and STS-106 in 2000, in which he carried out a six-hour spacewalk to perform construction work on the International Space Station. Having been flight engineer on Soyuz TMA-2, Lu spent six months in space in 2003 as part of ISS Expedition 7, with cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko.[1]

In July 2003, Lu and Malenchenko answered questions from students participating in Japan's NASDA special educational event, where Ed Lu performed Happy Birthday on an electronic piano for a student's birthday in the live broadcast from space.[5][6] He had demonstrated the difficulty of playing the piano instrument in space during a live in-orbit interview with CBS News and NASA TV video feed.[7] Also on this ISS mission on 15 October 2003, Lu communicated with the crewman of China's first manned mission into space, Yang Liwei, flying aboard Shenzhou 5. Lu congratulated the Chinese for the achievement and said in Putonghua: "Welcome to space. Have a safe journey". Malenchenko added: "I love to have somebody else in space instead of (just) me and Ed".[8]

While still employed at NASA, Lu co-founded the B612 Foundation along with former astronaut Rusty Schweickart and scientists Clark Chapman and Piet Hut. It has conducted two lines of related research to help detect asteroids that could one day strike the Earth, and find the technological means for asteroid deflection. The foundation's current goal is to design and build a privately financed asteroid-finding space telescope, Sentinel, to be launched in 2017–2018. The Sentinel's infrared telescope, once parked in an orbit similar to that of Venus, will help identify asteroids and other near-Earth objects (NEOs) that pose a risk of collision with Earth.[1]

Magic trick in space

While on the ISS, Lu teamed up with magician James Randi (founder of JREF) to perform a card trick in outer space. Randi asked Lu to (without looking) select a card from the middle of a brand new freshly shuffled deck of cards, turn it around and reinsert the card into the deck the opposite direction. Then place the deck of cards back into its box then take them out again and fan the cards to the camera. This same procedure was being done by Randi back on Earth at the JREF headquarters in front of witnesses from the Miami Herald. Both Randi and Lu successfully selected the same card, the seven of diamonds. The remaining cards were jettisoned for weight reasons before returning to Earth, but Lu smuggled the card home. The two cards complete with autographs are framed for public view at the JREF offices in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Randi asks Lu "What are the odds that we would both choose the same card?" Lu answers "Knowing you and your tricky ways, the odds were one in one, because it's a trick!"[9]

After NASA

On August 10, 2007, Lu announced he was retiring from NASA to work at Google.[1][2]

In June 2010, Lu left Google and worked out of the Sunfire Offices.[10] In September 2011, Lu joined Liquid Robotics as Chief of Innovative Applications, where his work includes outreach to promote new applications for ocean science, and in 2012, he joined Hover Inc. as its Chief Technology Officer.[11]

On June 28, 2012, Lu, with Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart and G. Scott Hubbard, Astronautics professor at Stanford University announced plans to build and operate the first privately-funded deep space mission called Sentinel. Their non-profit B612 Foundation will launch an infrared space telescope in orbit around the Sun, where from a distance as great as 270,000,000 kilometers (170,000,000 mi) from Earth, where it would detect and track asteroids and other near-Earth objects posing threats to the planet.

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ a b c d e f g NASA (2000). "Ed Lu Biography".  
  2. ^ a b Beutel, Allard (2007-08-10). "Astronaut Ed Lu Leaves NASA". NASA. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  3. ^ "Google Unveils New Maps Features Amid Apple Fight". Silicon Valley News. June 6, 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2012. 
  4. ^ Our Team | Ed Lu, CEO and Co-Founder, B612 Foundation, website. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  5. ^ Expedition 7 Video Index
  6. ^
  7. ^ Piano in space – YouTube
  8. ^ NASA – Expedition 7 Crew Members Welcome China to Space
  9. ^ Card Trick in Space ~ Ed Lu & Randi – YouTube
  10. ^ Sunfire Offices
  11. ^ "Google Unveils New Maps Features Amid Apple Fight". Silicon Valley News. June 6, 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2012. 

External links

  • NASA biography: Ed Lu
  • Dr. Lu's Space Blog written from during Expedition 7
  • Spacefacts biography of Ed Lu
  • Asteroid Apocalypse: The Tech Exists to Deflect Asteroids, So Why Aren't We Using It?, PJTV, 4 April 2013, interview with Ed Lu about the B612 Foundation and asteroid detection.
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