The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut

Apr 15, 2016

On Christmas Eve 1968, nine-year-old Clayton Anderson watched on television as Apollo 8 traveled to the far side of the moon. That night, his dreams of being an astronaut were born.

"I was enamored. I was just transfixed by what was happening," he says.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis and its seven-member crew, including Clayton Anderson, heading toward Earth-orbit and a scheduled link-up with the International Space Station.
Credit NASA Johnson

Anderson realized his dream. He's a veteran of two space flights and spent five months aboard the international space station in 2007. He's written about his life in space and on Earth in the new book, The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut.

"We're given a privilege to go into space, and that privilege includes the ability to look back at the beautiful planet Earth," says Anderson. "It strengthens my faith in God, first of all, but the second thing is, when nations are working together to put their people in space together, they're not fighting each other on the ground. So, I'm honored to have that privilege to see our beautiful planet from above."

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Anderson, as well as Ariel Waldman, Spacehack founder and author of What's It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who've Been There.