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I'm an Explorer, Engineer, Writer, Public Speaker, and Entrepreneur. I write about exploration, travel, and science. 

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Tuesday
May152012

NASA Highlight Reel 

I started working for NASA when I was 20. I was hired two weeks after the Columbia accident into the co-op program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. From scuba diving in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory where astronauts train for spacewalks to suiting up the crew in their orange Advanced Crew Escape Suits before they left on a Shuttle flight, I've had a pretty amazing experience serving America's space program. Here's a brief picture montage of my first 8 years with the agency. 

Atlantis, the magnificent flying bird, and me, before her final flight. 

This was during the STS-133 "Tweet-up" where I conducted a demonstration of the Advanced Crew Escape Suit for a group of NASA Twitterers. 

Space Shuttle... heavy. 

Pad A at Cape Canaveral, during Mode II/IV egress training simulation. 

Catching some zero G in the "vomit comet." 

Me, with hair, plus two of the bravest men I've ever met: Mark Kelly (on my right, picture left) and Steve Lindsey after I taught them a "ISS racks installation and removal skills" course prior to their STS-121 flight. I was 21. 

I'm actually TEACHING ASTRONAUTS SOMETHING THEY DIDN'T KNOW!!! Or else they knew it and just played along for me. Either way, it was cool.  

Me and Dean Eppler, spacesuit test subject extraordinaire. 

Enjoying a swim. Shuttle egress training in the NBL. They drop you from a crane to simulate bailout and drag you across the water and you have to disconnect your parachute risers to simulate a parachute caught in the wind. 

Shuttle body drag training, probably my most fitting contribution to the space program. I was literally "dead weight" for closeout crew teams to practice pulling disabled crewmembers out of a Space Shuttle mockup. I'm very good at playing dead weight, if I do say so myself. 

MUCU!!! My first NASA acronym. This was my first NASA project, actually: a Multiple User Cooling Unit which supplied cold water to an entire Shuttle crew during ground training or other non-flight ops. Here is the finished MUCU installed in the Astrovan which is used to take astronauts out to the launch pad. 

"Yeah, I think we can fit a 60" flat screen in here!" This is astronaut Rex Walheim and I measuring the clearance of a payload in the Space Shuttle's cargo bay, several months in advance of his flight to the International Space Station on STS-122. 

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