New years are always time of thoughtful backward reflection and optimistic forward projection. January 2012 will be an active time for astronaut hopefuls in the US as we prepare our NASA applications. The past four years have certainly been a busy time for me. Listed below are some of the things I've done since submitting the 2008 application:
- gained 4 more years of operational experience at the NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, including the Samoa 2009, Chile 2010, and Japan 2011 events;
- participated in the FMARS-12 analog Mars expedition to Devon Island;
- commanded the MDRS-89 analog Mars mission in Utah;
- co-founded Astronauts4Hire;
- completed my MS degree in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota;
- voyaged across the Pacific Ocean and mapped the seafloor aboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer;
- completed Dunker and Sea Survival Training at Survival Systems USA;
- completed Suborbital Scientist Training at The NASTAR Center;
- obtained a space motion sickness assessment from the Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory;
- completed Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver SCUBA training (working on Master Diver now);
- selected as an aquanaut crewmember for the 2013 Atlantica I Expedition;
- received lots of media coverage; and
- doubled my duties as a father.
Other advancements I plan to make by May 2012 include completing NOAA Scientific Diver certification, earning my Private Pilot license, and participating in my first microgravity research flight. Without all of the experiences listed above, I made it to the Highly Qualified stage of the astronaut selection process during NASA's last opportunity in 2008. The question is will the added skills I have gained in the past four years help me reach at least the interview stage this time? We shall see! Either way, I've grown a great deal and had a lot of fun along the way.
I wish all 2012 applicants the best of luck. Getting to know many of you over the past four years has been a true privilege. For some tips, you may want to see the notes from the recent webinar with Duane Ross.
Happy New Year (Hau'oli Makahiki Hou)!
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