Douglas H. Wheelock

@Astro_Wheels

Test Pilot; NASA Astronaut: STS-120 & ISS-25; Space Station Commander; Aspiring Poet; Inspired by quiet moments, kindness and the power of the spoken word.

Photos and Videos by @Astro_Wheels

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“Starry, starry night…Paint your palette blue and gray…”

Looks like it is going to be a perfect night along the Texas gulf coast. So excited to witness this celestial dance of the Geminid Meteor Shower tonight from ‘Starscape’ on

Love this photo from Astrophotographer Tommy Eliassen taken two nights ago in Norway…just breathtaking!

I wish the twitterverse a clear and starry night sky tonight…

I hope you dance…

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50187941/ns/technology_and_science-space/

  • 709 days ago via site
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What a wonderful experience flying with ... Incredible service! Friendly and helpful. It is easy to see and feel the '5-Star Rating'...Thank you! And...you've got to love the luggage tags into Doha! DOH!! Made me smile... :-)

Two thumbs up!! Thank you, Qatar Airways!! Looking forward to flying with you again soon...

  • 710 days ago via site
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Two years ago today…November 25, 2010...we touched down in our spaceship in Kazakhstan...amazing how the time slips away, like sand in an hourglass. The memories of this fiery ride home to Earth are still so vivid in my mind. A quick photo of Shannon, Fyodor, and me shortly before our departure in the Soyuz capsule.

I once described the ride home like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel…that has been set on fire! A bit difficult to describe in ‘earthly’ terms…let’s just say that the senses are heightened and the intensity does not disappoint…how’s that? :-)

Many thanks to our engineers, flight controllers, flight director, and our teams in Mission Control – Houston and Mission Control – Moscow, for helping us get home to the planet safely. To Shannon and Fyodor…Happy Anniversary! I miss you both and hope to fly again someday with you…



  • 727 days ago via site
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A day of solemn celebration and remembrance…149 years ago today…on a battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania…a 2-minute speech that changed lives – freed people – inspired a nation – and transcends time…'Be careful with your words - they become your destiny.'


“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

- President Abraham Lincoln; November 19, 1863



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In tribute to my ‘band of brothers’, our team in OEF…I wish you a blessed Veterans’ Day full of incredible memories and peaceful reflection.

Thank you for your service to our great country and to peace-loving people around the world. Thank you for the gift of years and moments…thank you for your courage and your humility…thank you for your fierce loyalty and your tender compassion…thank you for ‘covering my six’…I’ll be your wingman - anytime!

Happy birthday ‘Duster’ and ‘Dreamboat’! You are warriors and patriots!

Fly straight and true!

#OEF #NoGreaterLove


  • 741 days ago via site
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“I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for their religion -- I have shuddered at it, I shudder no more. I could be martyred for my religion. Love is my religion, and I could die for that. I could die for you.” - John Keats

To our Veterans…our Soldiers – Sailors – Airmen – Marines…and all those that love liberty, and take a stand in the name of justice and freedom for all…’Thank You’!

I hope that your Veterans’ Day is a day of peace and fond memories of a life well-lived. A day full of life, laughter, and love.

Many thanks to a dear friend, for this very peaceful photo from 'ground zero'...#ILoveNY #NYC

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The Space Shuttle Atlantis reached its final destination on Friday – ‘Spaceport USA’ – following a 10 mile trek from the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Bittersweet to see these marvels of flight and engineering de-commissioned and retired. Countless memories echo through this spaceship…and the hope of even greater wonders to come…

Thank you, NASA for inspiring a generation of dreamers.

Thank you to everyone that ever worked on, in, and around these incredible machines. Blastoff like a rocket? Orbit the Earth like a Spaceship? Land like a glider? That’s pretty crazy…pretty bold…pretty audacious! Thank you for making it happen in our lifetime, right before our eyes.

The dreams that we dare to dream really do come true…

Well done, Atlantis…well done…

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Happy 5th anniversary to our STS-120 team! What incredible memories of the ‘Epic Spacewalk’. I took this photo of my friend and hero, Scott Parazynski as he finished installing the final ‘cufflink’ in the torn solar array.

I often reflect on the unbelievable daring of our EVA team, our Flight Controllers, and our Flight Director in Mission Control. Seems so surreal now, as the years have passed. I hope we don’t ever lose that audacity of the imagination. Happy Anniversary, Team!

#DreamProfoundly #DareGreatly #GoBoldly


"A Few Miles Above…" - Wordsworth

Five years have passed; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters…and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain springs
With a soft inland murmur. Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky...


  • 748 days ago via site
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"Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that upon other fields, on other days, will bear the fruits of victory." - General Douglas MacArthur, West Point Class of 1903

From the soldiers on and above the battlefields of Operation Enduring Freedom - to our fellow soldiers on the field of friendly strife at West Point today…

Go Army – Beat Air Force!!!!

  • 750 days ago via site
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Since I was a child, I have loved the colors of the Autumn…a season of beauty and reflection. The relentless annual restoration begins with letting go…allowing the cares and burdens of the year to fall away into an insignificance that has a beauty all its own, in the far corners of our memory.

Sweet sorrow…glorious sadness…covered with grace and the promise that a new dawn, a new Spring awaits…just over the horizon…

Many thanks to my dear friend for this photo. Not my own…but it moves me.

Missing ‘home’…

  • 752 days ago via site
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Reflecting back and treasuring thoughts and memories of 'home'...I miss 'Starscape' on Galveston Island, and I miss running and playing on the beach with sweet 'Lacee'...I am so looking forward to running these beaches again soon...I remember this picture, she wants so badly to be a 'lap-dog'...too funny... :-)

I miss these moments on the deck at 'Starscape'...I hate to wish time away, but when I close my eyes I can feel the sea breeze and hear the rolling surf. Looking forward to being 'home' soon...

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5 years ago today...oh my, how time flies...Happy Anniversary to Discovery and her STS-120 crew. Miss you all...

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Funny how I spent 4 years of my life trying to escape this place...now I am drawn back 'home' to West Point... :-)

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So great to be back at my office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston! This was my 'Welcome back Wheels' greeting party this morning. It's going to be a great Monday!

  • 1020 days ago via site
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Guys - important safety tip for Valentine's Day...this is NOT a good idea...

You're welcome... - Wheels

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“Chomolungma” – Mount Everest from space.

Wonderful memories of our 2008 trek to 'the mountain' to support my great friend, mentor, and spacewalking partner

‘Spike’ - as I look at Everest from space, it is still difficult to find words...reminds me of that verse, “Words – words – words…how can there be so many, yet I cannot find any …”

Looking forward to the Annapurna Circuit in the Spring. Thankful for ‘mountains’ that stand in the distance in our lives…and the gifts of friendship, determination, strength and perseverance that give us the vision to conquer the summit…and experience the other side.

It is true that facing these ‘mountains’ head-on and struggling to overcome adversity and our fears of daunting obstacles ‘builds character’…it is also true, perhaps even more so, that it ‘exposes character’.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting! So…get on your way!” - Dr. Seuss

- Tike


  • 1032 days ago via site
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“Chomolungma” – Mount Everest from space.

Wonderful memories of our 2008 trek to 'the mountain' to support my great friend, mentor, and spacewalking partner @ SPOTScott

‘Spike’ - as I look at Everest from space, it is still difficult to find words...reminds me of that verse, “Words – words – words…how can there be so many, yet I cannot find any …”

Looking forward to the Annapurna Circuit in the Spring. Thankful for ‘mountains’ that stand in the distance in our lives…and the gifts of friendship, determination, strength and perseverance that give us the vision to conquer the summit…and experience the other side.

It is true that facing these ‘mountains’ head-on and struggling to overcome adversity and our fears of daunting obstacles ‘builds character’…it is also true, perhaps even more so, that it ‘exposes character’.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting! So…get on your way!” - Dr. Seuss

- Tike

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“To be able to rise from the earth…to be able, from a station in outer space, to see the relationship of the planet Earth to other planets…to be able to contemplate the billions of factors in precise and beautiful combination that make human existence possible…to be able to dwell on an encounter of the human brain and spirit with the universe—all this enlarges the human horizon…”

On days like these I remember and reflect back on my childhood and my own dreams of flight. I would watch the birds and wonder about their course…their destination. Would they look down from their perch and wonder about a life of walking and running…rather than flying? I often thought that they probably felt sorry for us...burdened with the chains of gravity.

I am so grateful for my current ‘office cubicle’…I really don’t miss those chains… :-)

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Good luck in the ‘767 Box’ today, Bill! Just wanted to thank you for your service and dedication as a professional pilot. To all our pilots out there in the Twitterverse…you have my utmost respect and admiration for what you do.

I had a ‘helmet fire’ just trying to copy and read back a taxi clearance at McCarran! Works a little better when you have the book open to this page…

Fly high and true!

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Faith…

“When you have come to the edge of all the light that you know, and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen…there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.”

I remember the feeling of opening the hatch and stepping out into the cold empty darkness of space…so thankful for our team in Mission Control. A world of thanks to ‘TC’, Toren, and of course ‘Mojo’.

All my love and thanks to my Creator and Master of all. I now know that even this frightening darkness is resting in the palm of His hand.

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