I'm Garrett Reisman

A NASA veteran who flew on all three Space Shuttles, Garrett Reisman was selected by NASA as a mission specialist astronaut in 1998. His first mission in 2008 was aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour which dropped him off for a 95 day stay aboard the International Space Station after which he returned to Earth aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. His second mission in 2010 was aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. During these missions, Garrett performed 3 spacewalks, operated the Space Station Robot Arm and was a flight engineer aboard the Space Shuttle.  Not only was he an astronaut, but Garrett was also an aquanaut serving as a crewmember on NEEMO V, living on the bottom of the sea in the Aquarius deep underwater habitat for 2 weeks.

 

In February of 2011, Garrett left NASA and is currently the Director of Space Operations for SpaceX in Hawthorne, California. In his new job, he is working with NASA to prepare SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to carry astronauts. Thus, he is a major player in both the American space program’s past and future.

 

Garrett is from Parsippany, New Jersey and attended the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated with B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Business Management. He then pursued graduate studies at Caltech in Mechanical Engineering and received a Ph.D. in 1997.

By all accounts I was a typical kid, although a bit small and nerdy. I played little league
baseball, poorly. It was a cause for major celebration if I hit the ball out of the infield and my whole family would go out for ice cream sundaes. My apparent lack of coordination along with my small stature made my dream of growing up to play center for the New York Knicks basketball team even more unlikely that becoming an astronaut. I joined the Cub Scouts but failed out of the Webelos before I could even become a Boy Scout. (I just couldn’t handle the pressure of having to earn all those merit
badges.)

04 toddler

Childhood

Family

You are a lucky person if your father is an outstanding role model without even trying, your mother offers steadfast unconditional support, and your sister is your BFF. I am a lucky person.

My father, Robert, never pushed me to follow in his footsteps as a mechanical engineer, but I am sure I subconsciously wanted to be just like my dad. He was the greatest guy in the world and he was the funniest guy I would ever meet. His antics and stories are legendary. My father would pass away in 2002 never living to see me launch into space, but he was with me the whole time.

My mother, Sheila, was always there for me and my sister,  never missing a sporting event or a school concert. But ironically she is afraid of flying. In fact, the only way I could get her to go flying with me was to point out that I was taking her husband and daughter so she should hop in the Cessna lest she be the only one left…

My sister, Lainie, inherited my dad’s great sense of humor and has a real knack for getting people to like her,  which is easy to do. She became a very successful expert on economic development and has lived with her husband and two children all over the world. Our dad used to joke that he had one child who might be blown to smithereens on a rocket and one child who might be eaten by Komodo dragons.

Attending public schools in Parsippany, NJ, my education was top-notch and I never
would have gotten to the launch pad without some amazing teachers and coaches. In
particular, my high school physics teacher, Gerard Vandervoort, infected me with a love of science and my high school wrestling coach, Gary Vittorio, taught me the meaning of dedication and hard work.

Attending the University of Pennsylvania was a great learning experience and a ridiculously good time too! Penn professors Joe Bordogna and Bill Hamilton were the best mentors a student could ask for. Then it was on to Caltech where I had the great fortune of having Chris Brennen as my Ph.D. thesis advisor. There is no way I would have had all of these amazing experiences without all of these amazing teachers, coaches, and professors.

08 high school

Education

NASA

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