The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut

The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut

The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut

The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut


What's it like to travel at more than 850 MPH, riding in a supersonic T-38 twin turbojet engine airplane? What happens when the space station toilet breaks? How do astronauts "take out the trash" on a spacewalk, tightly encapsulated in a space suit with just a few layers of fabric and Kevlar between them and the unforgiving vacuum of outer space?

The Ordinary Spaceman puts you in the flight suit of U.S. astronaut Clayton C. Anderson and takes you on the journey of this small-town boy from Nebraska who spent 167 days living and working on the International Space Station, including more than forty hours of space walks. Having applied to NASA fifteen times over fifteen years to become an astronaut before his ultimate selection, Anderson offers a unique perspective on his life as a veteran space flier, one characterized by humility and perseverance.

From the application process to launch aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, from serving as a family escort for the ill-fated Columbia crew in 2003 to his own daily struggles--family separation, competitive battles to win coveted flight assignments, the stress of a highly visible job, and the ever-present risk of having to make the ultimate sacrifice--Anderson shares the full range of his experiences. With a mix of levity and gravitas, Anderson gives an authentic view of the highs and the lows, the triumphs and the tragedies of life as a NASA astronaut.


Nevada Barr

I have known Clay Anderson for many years. We met at a National Education Association conference shortly after his daughter was born. He sang at my wedding and called me from outer space so I could yell “Love you!” into the black reaches of the universe. Since meeting Clay, I have met several presidents and first ladies and a handful of celebrities, but he remains the only astronaut I know. They are rare, these individuals who orbit around our world, and Clay is everything one could want in a hero: tall, well built, well married, honest, forthright, and, ironically for an astronaut, down-to-earth.

In reading Clay’s The Ordinary Spaceman you get no sense of separation between the reader and the event; it is as if your best friend is taking you with him under the sea, to Russia, freezing and floating and trying to find a way to eat and pee without gravity. the trip is personal and fun. Reading this book is the next best thing to becoming an astronaut yourself. Maybe the best thing, since you can share all the wild adventures Clay had without ever having to spend hours curled up like a fetus getting fitted for a space suit or slogging through a Russian winter to prove you have the Right Stuff.

Prepare to launch.

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