Nebraska’s astronaut and ordinary spaceman Clayton Anderson will visit schools in Ogallala on Wednesday, and host a book signing at the Prairie View school library from 2:15-2:45 p.m. MT.He will talk about what it is like to travel at more than 850 miles an hour, riding in a supersonic T-38 twin turbojet engine airplane, and what happens when the space station toilet breaks.
How do astronauts “take out the trash, 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 (University of Nebraska Press) takes the reader into Anderson's flight suit, to see the journey of a small-town boy from Nebraska who spent 167 days living and working on the International Space Station, including more than 40 hours of space walks.
Anderson applied to become an astronaut at NASA 15 times over 15 years before he was selected. He offers a unique perspective on his career, one characterized by humility and perseverance.
From his school days in Ashland and Hastings, Anderson describes the steps he took, from the highly competitive application process for 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 range of his experiences with a mix of levity and gravitas. He will spend Wednesday afternoon at the Ogallala schools.
Anderson retired in 2013 after a 30-year career with NASA and two missions to the International Space Station.
He lives in Houston with his wife and two children.
The forward was written with Nevada Barr, an award-winning novelist and the best-selling author of the Anna Pigeon series.