|Gregory H. Johnson|
May 12, 1962 |
South Ruislip, Greater London, United Kingdom
Time in space
|31d 11h 50m|
|Selection||1998 NASA Group|
When you look at the Earth's horizon and see the thickness of the atmosphere, it's not even the thickness of an orange peel.
I remember the first time that I flew on an airplane overseas, it was about when I was seven; it was 1969.
When I started flying, I realized how enjoyable it was, and flying became my main focus while engineering went on the back burner.
I progressed through my schooling, undergraduate and graduate degrees, excited about math and science and engineering, but really didn't think about being an astronaut at that point. It was kind of unreachable.
John Glenn's anniversaries have followed me all of my life. I was born in 1962, the year he orbited Earth.
It still amazes me, when I go out and fly the T-38, and I'm looking at those little, short, skinny little wings, and that thing's flying. It's just amazing to me, even now.
I loved being a test pilot, and so being an astronaut was – was not my end point in, you know, either I achieved success by being an astronaut, or if I don't get picked, I'm not successful. I loved my career as a pilot, and it was a bonus to be selected as an astronaut.
Children often ask me, they say, 'Well, how do you become a fighter pilot, or how do you become an astronaut, or…?' And I say, 'Love what you're doing and do it very well.'
I was watching a black and white television in Cairo, MI., at my grandparents' house, and I watched Neil Armstrong step on the moon. At that point, it set the bit for me to be an astronaut, and it was kind of like a dream, but it really wasn't reality.
One of my favorite places on the planet is a place in northern Michigan: Long Lake in Traverse City.
The building of the International Space Station is something wonderful, and it will show us how to take the next step beyond low-Earth orbit.
I did a little bit of flying in high school, but I've just always been inspired and excited about airplanes.
My brother still lives in the house my parents owned in Fairborn. I go back there a lot to visit friends and keep my connection to the National Museum of the Air Force and my membership with the Dayton Engineers Club.
My first date was with Endeavour, and my last date is going to be with Endeavour, as far as space shuttles are concerned.