Fragile Oasis

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


Doug Wheelock

Test Pilot; NASA Astronaut: STS-120 & ISS-25; Space Station Commander; Aspiring Poet; Inspired by quiet moments, kindness and the power of the spoken word.

Personal Data

Born May 5, 1960 in Binghamton, New York and considers Windsor, New York to be his hometown. Doug’s parents, Olin and Margaret Wheelock, reside in upstate New York.


Graduated from Windsor Central High School, Windsor, New York, in 1978. Received a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Science and Engineering from the United States Military Academy, West Point in 1983, and a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1992.


Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal (1st Oak Leaf Cluster); Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster); National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Korea Defense Service Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; NASA Space Flight Medal; Overseas Service Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Airborne Wings; Air Assault Wings; Master Army Aviator Wings with Astronaut Device; Air Force Space and Missile Badge; Air Force Master Space Badge.

Special Honors

Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army Flight Training Course (1984); 25th Infantry Division Flight Safety Award (1986 and 1989); U.S. Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Men of America (1989); Veterans of Foreign Wars Outstanding Spokesman for Freedom (1990); Team Leader of the Georgia Tech Aerial Robotics Design Team (1992); Gamble Award for excellence in experimental flight testing (1995); NASA Group Achievement Awards: Global Positioning System (1997) and Russian Liaison Support Team (2001); NASA Superior Accomplishment Award (2002, 2004, 2005, and 2008); Order of St. Michael (Bronze Award) from the Army Aviation Association of America (2007); American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award (2008). Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the Society of American Military Engineers, the Association of the United States Army, the Army Aviation Association of America, the West Point Association of Graduates, and the Georgia Tech Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni (2007).


Colonel Wheelock received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Infantry from West Point in May 1983. He entered flight school in 1984, graduated at the top of his flight class and was designated as an Army Aviator in September 1984. Subsequently served in the Pacific Theater as a combat aviation Section Leader, Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, Battalion Operations Officer, and Commander of an Air Cavalry Troop in the 9th U.S. Cavalry. He was later assigned to the Aviation Directorate of Combat Developments as an Advanced Weapons Research and Development Engineer. He earned a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1992, with research in the areas of hypersonic and high temperature gas dynamics, flight stability and control, and automatic control and robotics. He was selected as a member of Class 104 at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and upon completion was assigned as an Experimental Test Pilot with the Army Aviation Technical Test Center (ATTC). His flight testing was focused in the areas of tactical reconnaissance and surveillance systems in the OH-58D(I), UH-60A/L, RU-21H and C-23 aircraft. He served as Division Chief for testing of Army Scout/Attack aircraft and weapons systems in support of tactical operations in the Balkans. Colonel Wheelock’s work as a test pilot culminated in his assignment as Division Chief for fixed-wing testing of airborne signal and imagery intelligence systems in support of the National Program Office for Intelligence and Electronic Warfare. He is also a graduate of the Army Airborne and Air Assault Courses, the Infantry and Aviation Officer Advanced Courses, The Combined Arms Services Staff School, the Material Acquisition Management Course, and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Colonel Wheelock is a dual-rated Master Army Aviator; and has logged over 3000 flight hours in 45 different rotary and fixed-wing aircraft and spacecraft. He is also an FAA-rated Commercial Pilot in single and multi-engine land craft, rotorcraft, and gliders.

NASA Experience

Colonel Wheelock reported for Astronaut Candidate Training in August 1998. Following the initial two years of intensive Space Shuttle and Space Station training, he was assigned to the Astronaut Office ISS Operations Branch as a Russian Liaison, participating in the testing and integration of Russian hardware and software products developed for the ISS. He worked extensively with the Energia Aerospace Company in Moscow, Russia, developing and verifying dual-language procedures for ISS crews. Colonel Wheelock led joint U.S./Russian teams to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to oversee bench reviews, inventory, loading and launch of the first four unmanned ISS resupply capsules. In 2001, Colonel Wheelock assumed duties as the Crew Support Astronaut for the ISS Expedition 2 crew, which was on orbit for 147 days from March 2001 to August 2001, and for the ISS Expedition 4 crew, which was on orbit for 195 days (U.S. long-duration record) from December 2001 to June 2002. He was the primary contact for all crew needs, coordination, planning and interactions, and was the primary representative of the crews while they were on orbit. In August 2002, Colonel Wheelock was assigned as a Spacecraft Communicator (CAPCOM) in the Mission Control Center in Houston. In this role, he was the primary communication link between crews on orbit and the ground support team in the Control Center. His work as a CAPCOM culminated in his assignment as the lead CAPCOM for the ISS Expedition 8 mission, which was 194 days in duration. In January 2005, Colonel Wheelock was assigned to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia, as NASA’s Director of Operations–Russia. He was responsible for supporting Russia-based training, logistic, and administrative needs of NASA astronauts preparing for flight on the ISS. Colonel Wheelock was the primary liaison between Star City and NASA operations in Houston, including medical, training, science, contracting, public affairs, and administration departments. He was also responsible for liaison duties between NASA and the Russian Space Agency, as well as the Russian aerospace industry. Colonel Wheelock is qualified to fly aboard the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. He has completed qualification in the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Skills program, and the Canadian Space Agency MSS Robotics Operator (MRO) course. In July 2004, Colonel Wheelock completed training in the NASA Extreme Environments Mission Operations (NEEMO) program, during a 10-day undersea mission aboard the National Undersea Research Center’s Aquarius habitat. In 2007, Colonel Wheelock served as a mission specialist on the crew of STS-120. In completing his first space flight he logged over 362 hours in space, including 20 hours and 41 minutes EVA during 3 spacewalks. He trained at GCTC in Star City, Russia as a backup ISS Expedition 22 crewmember. Colonel Wheelock launched on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, TMA-19, on June 15, 2010, and served a 6-month tour of duty aboard the International Space Station. On September 22, 2010, with the departure of the Expedition 23 crew, Colonel Wheelock assumed command of the International Space Station and the Expedition 25 crew that launched October 7, 2010. On November 25, 2010, Wheelock and two of his fellow crewmembers safely landed their Soyuz spacecraft in Kazakhstan.

Space Flight Experience

STS-120 Discovery (October 23-November 7, 2007) launched from and returned to land at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. During the mission, the Node 2 module named “Harmony” was delivered to the International Space Station. This element opened up the capability for future international laboratories to be added to the station. Wheelock accumulated 20 hours and 41 minutes EVA during three spacewalks. One of the major EVA mission objectives was the relocation of the P6 Solar Array from the top of the Z1 Truss to the end of the port side of the Integrated Truss Structure. During the redeploy of the solar array, several array panels snagged and were damaged, requiring an unplanned spacewalk to successfully repair the array. The American Astronautical Society’s Flight Achievement Award was presented to the spacewalkers for demonstrating the importance of ingenuity and heroism in exploring space. The mission was accomplished in 238 orbits, traveling 6.2 million miles in 15 days, 2 hours, and 23 minutes. On September 22, 2010, with the departure of the Expedition 23 crew, Colonel Wheelock assumed command of the International Space Station and the Expedition 25 crew. During Expedition 25, there were more than 120 microgravity experiments in human research; biology and biotechnology; physical and materials sciences; technology development; and Earth and space sciences. Wheelock also responded to an emergency shutdown of half of the station's external cooling system and supported three unplanned spacewalks to replace the faulty pump module that caused the shutdown. His efforts restored the station's critical cooling system to full function. The mission duration was 163 days. To date, Colonel Wheelock has accumulated 178 days in space.