Altman, a Kappa Kappa ’81, was recently inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. Between 1998 and 2009 he piloted two spaceflights (STS-90 and STS 106) and was mission commander of an additional two (STS-109 and STS-125). In 1987 Altman was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the highest honor granted by NASA.
However, Altman starred in more than just space. Before being selected as an astronaut, he served a successful career in the U.S. Navy. After joining in 1981, he proceeded through aviation training and was deployed twice flying the F-14A Tomcat. He later flourished as a Test Pilot, Maintenance Officer, and Operations Officer. Overall, his military career concluded with several awards, including the 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, and 1987 Award winner for Outstanding Achievement in Tactical Aviation.
The legendary alumni even had some Hollywood influence. His squadron was featured for stunts in the classic 1986 action film, Top Gun. In a NASA interview, Altman commented: “Top Gun was a real thrill. I still remember that so vividly”. He can be seen as the pilot who flips the enemy the bird during a stunt.
Despite all of his personal achievement, Altman has still been an active alumni of Sigma Chi and the Kappa Kappa chapter. He was the keynote speaker of the 2017 Balfour Leadership Training Workshop, and now has accepted his invitation to be 2018 Homecoming Parade Marshal. He is recognized as a Significant Sig, and his plaque will be enshrined in the chapter library.