UM’s Noah Furbush has dreams of space travel

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Noah Furbush propels himself on the field at linebacker for the Michigan Wolverines, but once his football career is over, he has every intention of heading into space.

Furbush, who will graduate in a few weeks with a degree in aerospace engineering, is the first recipient of the $10,000 Bo Schembechler Postgraduate scholarship awarded by the National Football Foundation this week.

He will use the money toward his graduate studies at Michigan this fall.

“I’ll actually be doing the space engineering master’s program, so no more airplanes,” Furbush said Thursday after practice. “Just rockets and spacecrafts.”

Furbush has his pilot’s license, so why the shift to rockets and space?

“Why not the rockets and spacecrafts?” said Furbush, who will graduate next spring from the master’s program. “There are so many cool things happening right now in the aerospace industry in general but especially in space. You have billionaires sending their own sports cars into space. So many cool things. In New Zealand they’re 3D printing rockets and they’re making them for just a couple million.

“It’s incredible the kinds of things that are happening right now. Just to be able to have resources available to be able to explore all those exciting opportunities that I’ll have with this master’s program is amazing.”

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Furbush has an upcoming internship at Ford Motor Company in research and development.

“I think it’s going to give me a really refined look at what engineering is like working in an industry that’s been around for so long,” he said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for me to get out of the academic realm and get into industry and see what that’s all about.”

Last season, Furbush had 30 tackles, including 2.5 for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery. He equates studying the complexities of coordinator Don Brown’s defense with studying engineering.

“It’s really the same approach,” Furbush said. “I know coach Brown likes to talk about the PhDs of linebackerology — I’m working on mine still. Yeah, it’s really the same approach. The way you attack things.”

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While he looks forward to another season of football, Furbush is also focused on, not exactly a galaxy far, far away, but taking the steps to eventually fulfill a dream.

“I would love to go into space. I would love to be an astronaut,” he said. “Believe it or not, it’s looking more feasible that within 10 years regular people like me and you will be able to be astronauts. They’re changing the vocabulary of what an astronaut is. I think it’s going to be a more broad term.

“I’d love to go to Mars. If we’re talking really out there, I think it would be really cool to experience inter-stellar travel however feasible that is.”

Until then, he will remain grounded studying and playing football.