Episode 50- Astronaut Mike Mullane
So, this week we interviewed an astronaut. A real, live, actual, space shuttle mission-going astronaut and it was every bit as amazing as one would expect.
Mike Mullane, Astronaut (Ret.), Col., USAF (Ret.), has been on no less than three space shuttle missions. He has seen and experienced out of this world experiences the majority of us have only dreamed of and from the sounds of it, it’s even more incredible than what we see in the movies.
Mike shared that his dreams of space travel began at a very young age. Growing up during the height of the space race, he was determined to be a part of it all. He began with a career in the military, retiring as a Colonel in the USAF and then kicked-off the full-on pursuit of becoming an astronaut. He succeeded and the rest, as they say, is history.
He shared with us a number of stories of his time in orbit from launched missions to near disasters to the loss of friends and colleagues in the tragic Challenger explosion. We found Mike to be compelling, down to earth (no pun intended), and thoroughly engaging.
As he reflected on his historic career with us, he compared his experiences to those of anyone who has ever had a lifelong dream realized. He also shared that the countless hours floating in space never got tiresome. In fact, he had to force himself to sleep.
We, of course, found out what he took up there with him and when exactly you can officially call yourself an astronaut.
As for Heidi and Luke, they were so intrigued they actually behaved like adults for the most part. Luke never asked what it was like to go, “To infinity and beyond.” Heidi bit her tongue when the urge to open with, “Ground Control to Major Tom,” hit. Don’t fret though, they still asked plenty of asinine questions along with the legit ones.
Following his tenure with NASA, he has since become a successful author. He has written a number of books on life as an astronaut. Most notably, Riding Rockets, the outrageous stories of a space shuttle astronaut. In this biography he truly tells all on his time as an astronaut. As he puts it, he shares it all, warts and all. He was even forthright about his own character flaws back in the day such as arrogance and chauvinism, and how he evolved after working with the likes of Judy Resnick. Judy, for those who don’t know, was the second American woman in Space. She also was tragically killed on Challenger. She and Mike were great colleagues and friends.
Mike shares a friendly warning, that Riding Rockets is definitely not geared for kids. He gives it an R rating. That said, he has a solution for those younger folks wanting to learn about space travel. His Do Your Ears Pop in Space? is aQ&A guide to some of the most perplexing questions about the final frontier. It’s also fun and appropriate for readers of all ages.
For even more of our talk with Mike, check out our YouTube page, where he talks about the moment he officially became an astronaut.