Douglas H. Wheelock


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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Occupy Space! Too funny...thank you, Kyle! "Eyes turned skyward!"

  • 1424 days ago via site
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Four years ago today (November 7, 2007) we touched down in the Space Shuttle Discovery, on runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center. 238 orbits of the Earth, over 6 million miles, a lifetime of memories…and we were home. Oh…the places you’ll go!

#STS120Tweetup #NASATweetup #Wheelers

  • 1426 days ago via site
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With my ‘BFF’, my precious friend and companion ‘Lacee’ on the beach in the early morning. Adopted Lacee a few years ago from the Houston SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). She was abandoned and was scheduled to be euthanized. Now she and I run on beaches, climb mountains, and explore places together. She runs like the wind, plays like a curious child, and loves like tomorrow will never come.

#STS120Tweetup #NASATweetup #Wheelers #SPCA #UnconditionalLove

  • 1426 days ago via site
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Oh, how I miss being in space and witnessing 16 sunrises every day! I've been enjoying some solitude on Galveston Island and have been taking some 'heat' (or more accurately...some 'tweat') for not including a photo of the sunrise that has been my inspiration here on Kahala Beach. So...though the day is overcast, the sunrise never disappoints. A new day...a new beginning...another chance to make a difference on this blue planet.

“The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” - John Muir

  • 1426 days ago via site
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Incredible dinner last night at Eddy V’s in Houston, with my old pal Scott Parazynski, ! We were able to get caught up, reminisce about days gone by, and talk about new adventures. Chris and Dave joined us, and we retold the solar array repair story. Even though the time is slipping by and the STS-120 mission is slowly becoming a distant memory, that story of triumph on November 3, 2007 still makes me shiver. One day I'll tell the tale of my ‘free float’ during that spacewalk, the moment where I had to just let go and trust in the laws of physics and orbital mechanics...and fervent prayer. :-)

I often think back on the ways that Scott has spoken into my life. I’ve attached a photo of us together at the Everest Base Camp in Nepal in May 2008, about 6 months after we returned to Earth. Taken in front of Scott’s tent, he decided to dress up for the photo…clean shaven, STS-120 hat…I decided to…well…save my razor from certain demise. :-P

Spike and Tike together again. Many thanks to the wonderful staff at Eddy V’s.

#STS120Tweetup #NASATweetup #Wheelers #SavetheRazors

  • 1432 days ago via site
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Trick-or-Treat! No need to be afraid...'Mo', the little miniature Fox Terrier is ready to protect and defend against Ghouls and Goblins.

This is ‘Peter Pan Mo’…and just like me, he never wants to grow up!

“Now, think of the happiest things…it’s the same as having wings!”
“Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning!” - Peter Pan

  • 1433 days ago via site
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Happy Halloween from the “Rambo-nauts”!

From the STS-120 crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery - dressed in our orange pumpkin suits and camouflage bandanas - transformed into the “Rambo Crew”…

Kneeling (L to R): Scott Parazynski – “LongBOw”; Paolo Nespoli - “Rocky BalBOa” (the Italian Stallion)

Standing (L to R): Yours Truly – “FlamBO”; Dan Tani – “BOichi”; Pam Melroy – “PamBO”; George Zamka – “ZamBO”; Stephanie Wilson – “RoBO”

From the STS-120 crew…HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Pambo, Zambo, Longbow, Robo, Flambo, Boichi, and Rocky

  • 1433 days ago via site
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Are you the one?

Thanks to my friend Linda, , I was reminded of this tweet that I sent back in July after a life-changing encounter with an angel in the form of a little boy...while waiting to watch the final launch of the Space Shuttle. Thought I would re-tweet this with a photo from a different angle. The little girl in the photo is his younger sister.

Original tweet from July 12, 2011:

Are you the one? You never know when you’ll encounter an angel. I was at the Banana Creek viewing area to watch the launch last Friday, and was signing pictures and hats and shirts…and answering questions. A little boy stood patiently beside me, held my hand tightly for several minutes, and when it was his turn I knelt to talk with him. He only said a few words but for several minutes he felt my hair, and mapped the contours of my face with his little fingers. He looked at every detail of the patches on my flight suit, and drew the lines of each patch as if he were memorizing the design. Then he just gave me a hug and wouldn’t let go. One of those moments that blesses my life and touches my soul.

I found out yesterday that this little guy was sent to Florida through ‘Make-A-Wish’, a wonderful organization that makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions. This little boy’s wish was to meet an Astronaut and watch a Space Shuttle launch. just never know…

Ever told your child, We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste, Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, Let a good friendship die...Cause you never had time?
You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast.
Time is short. The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere...You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift...Thrown away.
Life is not a race. Do take it slower…
Hear the music...Before the song is over.

#STS120Tweetup #NASATweetup #Wheelers

  • 1434 days ago via site
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Wish I was better in the 'relationship realm'. Saw this funny comic strip and can relate. I should get on Foursquare and check into "Sherman's Lagoon"...I feel certain that I could be Mayor here... :-)

  • 1434 days ago via site
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A front-row seat to a spacewalk. I remember this moment like it was yesterday. I am so glad that although my hands were nearly frozen…my mind was still sort of semi-functioning. :-) I had thought what a hard-fought battle this was to find a solution and fix this torn solar array. Our brilliant engineers on the Earth had come up with an ‘Apollo 13 – esque’ solution and they instructed us to fashion five cufflinks from scrap materials onboard the Space Station. We turned the Node 2 ‘Harmony’ module into a metal shop…to manufacture the cufflinks to be used to sew the torn array together. It was a crazy crazy idea…but we thought that it just might work.

On that day…the day of reckoning…November 3, 2007…after 7 hours of spacewalking, pushing our suits, the Space Station, our robotics, and our Mission Control Team to the limits…the last cufflink was installed, and we declared victory.

I reached down, grabbed my camera, asked Scott to lean back and wave…and I snapped this photo. The number one thing on my mind at this point was to get back to the safety of the airlock, so I could get warm again. I was concerned about translating back such a long distance with my hands so cold. I forgot about this photo…until weeks after we returned to Earth and this photo showed up on the cover of Aviation Week and Space Technology. A magazine cover featuring my buddy ‘Spike’, . You can see the five cufflinks. Not ‘pretty’…but it worked. Behold, one of NASA finest moments…right before your eyes.

What wonderful memories…one day…maybe when I’m holding my grandkids’ hands…standing in the shadow of Discovery at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum…I can pull out this photo and tell some tall tales of…

Hard Fought Victories

There is no feat worthy of glory that is not hard.
Lady luck gives the best kiss to those battle scarred.
To thoughts of loss and failure we must not fall prey.
Now it is stormy, but the clouds will not stay gray.
Salvation is closest in the darkest hours of need.
Before your body can make scar tissue it must bleed.
There are things all of us for far too long have wept.
Emotion like sand to either side can be swept.
Dig deep and find out what it is you want the most.
And what are the things you have done that few can boast.
If things get worse that means that they are still turning.
In such events look for what you should be learning.
When something bad happens you must ask why and how.
At least be glad that we are alive and well now.

#STS120Tweetup #NASATweetup #Wheelers

  • 1436 days ago via site
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Another STS-120 memory...looks more like 2 kids on Christmas morning…instead of the ‘master’ and the ‘rookie’ spacewalkers preparing to step out into the vacuum of space. Candid shot of me with my forever-hero and mentor Scott Parazynski, , preparing for our ‘walk in the park’… :-P

Temperature swings during a spacewalk are eye-opening. The EMU suits do not have a ‘heater’. We wear liquid-cooled undergarments under the suit and you either have cooling, or no cooling. We do have glove heaters, that warm up the fingertips only, and if you get ‘behind the power curve’ with the glove heaters…you’re done until sunrise… :-(

Since, we’re orbiting at 17,500 miles/hour (28,000 kilometers/hour), roughly 5 miles/second (8 kilometers/second), we orbit the Earth once every 90 minutes…so every 45 minutes we have either a sunrise or sunset. In direct sunlight, temperatures can soar to 300-degrees Fahrenheit, and even close to 400-degrees Fahrenheit in the boundary layer close to reflective metallic surfaces. Then when the sun sets and we are in orbital eclipse, temperatures can plummet to 300-degrees below zero!

During the solar array repair EVA, we maneuvered the Space Station to an attitude that would provide maximum shielding of the array, and keep it in shadow as much as possible to minimize the amount of electrical current flowing into the mast. Normally this current is around 210 Amps…yes, you read that correctly, 210 Amps…soooo…needless to say, getting the suit electronics and metal tools within inches of the power strip on the array carrying this current…well…let me just use an old pilot phrase…”Pucker Factor” (PF)…let’s just say the PF-meter is pegged. :-)

Since I was stationed at the base of the solar array for about six hours during this EVA, in shadow…I couldn’t feel much of my body until I managed to crawl to a sliver of sunlight on the top of the mast canister to warm my hands. Incredibly interesting environment, and I am so thankful to our team that kept me alive to fight another day. Many thanks to Mojo and Dina for keeping me safe in the suit. A world of thanks to Derek as our fearless Flight Director.

#STS120 #STS120Tweetup #NASATweetup #Wheelers

  • 1437 days ago via site
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Eating in Space! Thought I would share this ‘Kodak Moment’ (actually a ‘Nikon Moment…I think…) with you from STS-120. Here I am with my crewmates Scott Parazynski and George Zamka (Flambo – Zambo - Longbow) on the middeck of Discovery, enjoying some down-time and ‘breaking bread’ together. You have to be careful in space, even doing something as simple as eating. Just have to remember that ‘everything floats’. :-)

#STS120Tweetup #NASATweetup #Wheelers

  • 1438 days ago via site
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Go Discovery! Four years ago this very moment, this was the scene at launch pad 39A. I remember the rocket lighting like it was yesterday! The acceleration was eye-watering as the chains of gravity give way to 7.7 million pounds of thrust!

  • 1441 days ago via site
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STS-120 team huddle in the suit-up room...The countdown starts...

Oh, the Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


  • 1441 days ago via site
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Happy Anniversary STS-120! It was four years ago today…October 23, 2007 at 11:39am Eastern Standard Time…The Space Shuttle Discovery roared to life, broke the chains of gravity, and soared to the heavens. It is a ‘significant emotional event’ sitting on top of a loaded rocket on the launch pad. The closest people to the pad are our escape crew that are in a concrete bunker over a mile away…it takes just a couple of seconds to realize that you are sitting on the reason why! Happy 4th anniversary to our entire team! Here is a photo with my spacewalking partner, my mentor, and my dear friend Scott Parazynski (). Notice the nametags…I went from ‘Tike’ to ‘Flambo’ to ‘Cupcake’…and Scott went from ‘Spike’ to ‘Longbow’ to ‘Beefcake’…long story for another time. Little did we know when this photo was taken in the suit-up room, the situation that awaited us in space. A torn solar array would require an emergency repair spacewalk. ‘Impossible’ is a word that does not exist in NASA’s vocabulary. It was the proudest moment of my life, to witness the courage, bravery and daring of our team. Happy Anniversary! ‘Spike’…let’s climb a mountain together soon… - ‘Tike’

#STS120Tweetup #NASATweetup #Wheelers

  • 1441 days ago via site
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Our amazing ‘Blue Planet’! Witnessing the Aurora from the Space Station is life-changing. I have been back on the planet for nearly a year now, and I still dream of this incredible sight. Because we are orbiting the Earth so fast, it is impossible to see ‘motion’ on the surface of the Earth. You can see the effects of wind and ocean currents, and even the spiral cloud formation of cyclones. Just can’t see motion, even in the ‘eye wall’ of a hurricane. But the Aurora is something so fantastically unique. It moves and changes color and shape and form. It literally can look like our planet is a ball of fire in a very dark, empty, and vast sea. Behold…the Aurora! Thanks for this great shot .

  • 1442 days ago via site
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Cool and beautiful Autumn has arrived in Houston. Had a great visit last night with a couple of friends that always sharpen me. and John Herrington, my Commander on the NEEMO-6 undersea expedition back in 2004. I am so thankful for friends, grace, love, laughter, purpose. I am even thankful for the times of adversity. We hear often that adversity ‘builds character’…I suppose that is true to an extent. I think it is more accurate to say that adversity ‘exposes character’. I read some classic poetry last night, and re-read Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’. Thought the poem would go nicely with this photo of a beautiful pathway taken last week on my ‘escape’ back home…

The Road Not Taken – by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

  • 1443 days ago via site
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A ‘Blue Planet’ moment…Do you recognize this breathtaking location? A spot that is beautiful from the Space Station and even more moving from a helicopter. Can you guess this mystery location? Special thanks to my forever friend, Vanadis for this wonderful photo.

Hints to follow…but I have the feeling you’ll know this one… ;-)

  • 1444 days ago via site
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400th tweet! Photo from NYC World Trade Center “Ground Zero”. I thought I would use this milestone tweet to tell you how much you all mean to me and what a wonderful adventure this has been on Twitter. Before my flight into space, I reluctantly agreed to launch a Twitter account, and I am so very glad that I did.

From the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia (where I sent my first tweet); to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site in Kazakhstan (tweeting from the base of my Soyuz rocket – on the same launch pad that launched Sputnik and Gagarin); to the sanctity of space, where the beauty of our planet is simply breathtaking and life-changing; to the ground and air campaign in Afghanistan… Meeting & Tweeting with you has blessed and enriched my life and my journey as an Astronaut and as a human being.

Thank you, Stefy for this beautiful photo and for your sweet spirit. Thank you, Mojo for all of your assistance and inspiration with the ‘early tweets’.

Very special thanks to my close Tweeps: and of course the #Wheelers

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I'm so tired but I can't sleep
Standing on the edge of something much too deep
It's funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word
Though we are screaming inside oh we can't be heard

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I'm so afraid to love you, but more afraid to lose
Clinging to a past that doesn't let me choose
But once there was a darkness, deep and endless night
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me light

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

  • 1444 days ago via site
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Mystery photo from space...can you guess this spot on our beautiful planet? Hint: after the signing of the Treat of Paris in 1783, this settlement emerged as a Nation's Capital.

  • 1445 days ago via site
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