Fragile Oasis

Connecting Space and Earth: Learn. Act. Make a Difference.

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Don Pettit

Don Pettit, who has lived in space for 370 days during three missions, is known as Mr. Wizard, Mr. Fixit, and as Dad. He's a chemical engineer, an Eagle Scout, and an explorer on earth and in space. He is ...

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Six Months Turns to Ten

Space Station expeditions are planned for six months. Some may be a few weeks shorter, some longer. Malfunctions in your spacecraft can impact the mission duration either way by two months or more. Oleg Kononenko (center), Andre Kuipers (right) and I taking a walk on the snowy - and cold - grounds of our crew quarters in Baikonur, Kazakhstan last ...Keep Reading

A One-Way Ticket

Unlike my previous trips, this time I arrived in Russia on a one-way ticket. My bridge has been burned. And now I’m in Kazakhstan, awaiting our December 21 launch. Scuttling your ship is a historically proven method (think Cortés) to close the door to the known and force yourself to face the unknown. Now there is no way home, at ...Keep Reading

What Makes an Explorer?

There is a type of social deviate who doesn’t fit in, and who naturally seeks the freedom of the wilderness. The American frontier was settled by that kind of spirit. Ironically, the wilderness of space requires a high degree of social conformity before you are allowed to enter, so today’s pre-selection of candidate explorers effectively requires a different personality type ...Keep Reading

The Road to Space - The Explorer's Dilemma

The road to space is a long and arduous path, a meandering trip that in many ways is more demanding than the Space Station mission itself. Training to fly into space is also the next best thing to actually flying into space. And flying into space is what my job is all about. Me on the left, with Oleg Kononenko ...Keep Reading