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.
Clayton C. Anderson retired in 2013 after a thirty-year career with NASA and two missions to the International Space Station. He currently lives in Houston, USA with his wife and two children. Nevada Barr is an award-winning novelist and best-selling author of the Anna Pigeon series.