• As a U.S. Space Force commander, this Baylor alum oversees all Cape Canaveral launches

    Brig. Gen. Stephen Purdy Jr.

    Cape Canaveral has long been synonymous with space launches in the United States — from the earliest space flights (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo) through the space shuttle era to today.

    What many don’t realize is that Cape Canaveral is part of a larger unit — Space Launch Delta 45, part of the U.S. Space Force. Of note to us in the Baylor Family: Space Launch Delta 45 is led by a Baylor Bear.

    In January, Brigadier General Stephen Purdy Jr. (BS ’93, MS ’95) was named commander of the 45th Space Wing after distinguishing himself over nearly three decades of Air Force service. (The 45th Space Wing was renamed Space Launch Delta 45 in May.) This appointment places Purdy in charge of the Patrick Space Force Base and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, where he is the final approval authority for all launches on the Eastern Range, managing wing launch and range infrastructure supporting NASA, commercial and missile test missions.

    Purdy’s career began with his commission through Baylor’s Air Force ROTC program in 1993 as he earned his bachelor’s in engineering. He would go on to complete his master’s in computer science from Baylor two years later before entering active duty at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio in 1995. Since then, Purdy has served at Air Force bases in California and Colorado and in multiple assignments at Air Force Headquarters in Arlington, Va. Through his work, he’s earned the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit, two highly acclaimed honors within the U.S. Armed Forces.

    “I’m honored to lead the Airmen and Guardians of the 45th Space Wing,” says Purdy. “The opportunity to command is rare, and this opportunity in particular is a precious one.”

    Sic ’em, Brig. Gen. Purdy!