Friday, February 24, 2012

Feature Friday–Astronaut Story Musgrave

Story Musgrave Edited

Story Signed Photo

This past January I had the honor of hearing Story Musgrave speak at a work conference.  I was even able to spend some time with him after his presentation.  My friend Amy, above along with a couple of other people spent about an hour talking with him after the presentation.  It was an incredible experience for me.  He is a fascinating human being. 

I think Story is fascinating because is so fascinated himself.  He takes nothing in this world for granted.  He says that the reason man went to space is the same reason a 3 year old turns over a rock.  It’s sheer curiosity and wonder at the world around us. 

The main points that he likes to drive home in his speeches are that in life, in work and in everything, teamwork is essential.  He talks about how every single person mattered when it came to the mission.  From the astronauts to the people who designed the aircraft and the suits to the technicians who set up the mission control room and the people who made coffee so they could stay awake at mission control.  (I don’t remember the exact jobs that he used as examples, but he talked about how every job mattered from least to greatest.)  He also uses the body as an excellent example of teamwork.  I like this because it goes along with my post about the importance of church.  (You can read it here.)  He says,

“It’s like my body.  I’ve got a hundred million cells.  They all do their thing.  My liver cells say, ‘I’m a liver cell and I’m going to do a liver.’ And the kidney cell says, ‘I’m a kidney.  I’m going to do what kidneys are supposed to do.’  Believe me, there is no such thing as a kidney cell that is jealous of a brain cell.  The muscle cells don’t want the bone cells to fail.  They’ve got a mission.  That is the thing that coheres and brings everyone together.  That’s what gives everyone a passion.  You don’t do a mission, you believe in it.  Anytime you can get that kind of vision it’s spectacular, and the job gets done.”

In his presentation to us he said over and over that it is vital to your best every single day.  He was truly motivating.

I asked him if I could write about him on my blog, so here is the short bio that he gave me to copy and share.  I think it is now a couple of years old because I know his daughter is 5 years old now.  I also know that he lives on and operates a palm farm in Florida now.  But, I wanted to use what he gave me because I think it’s awesome that he gave me something to share with you.

Story Musgrave was born in 1935 on a dairy farm in Stockbridge, MA.  He was the forests alone at age 3 and by age 5 floated his homebuilt rafts on the rivers.  He rode combines at age 5, drove trucks and tractors at age 10 and when alone in remote fields repaired them by age 13. 

He never finished school, ran off to Korea with U.S. Marines where he was an aircraft electrician and engine mechanic.  He started flying with the Marines and over the next 57 years accumulated 18,000 hours in over 160 aircraft.  He is a parachutist with over 800 free-falls. 

He has 7 graduate degrees in math, computers, chemistry, medicine, physiology, literature and psychology.  He has been awarded 20 honorary doctorates.  He was a part-time trauma surgeon for the duration of his astronaut career.

He was a NASA astronaut for over 30 years and flew on six spaceflights.  He performed the first shuttle spacewalk on Challenger’s first flight, was a pilot on an astronomy mission, conducted two classified DOD missions, was the lead spacewalker on the Hubble Telescope repair mission and operated an electronic chip manufacturing satellite on Columbia.  He was the communicator in mission control for 25 missions.

Today he is an independent producer/director of multimedia, a landscape architect, an innovator with Applied Minds Inc., a bioengineer with Tupperware Inc., and a professor of design at Art Center College in Pasadena, CA.

Story also performs multimedia corporate presentations on the topic of reliability as it applies to hardware, software, systems, individuals, groups and institutions.

He has 7 beautiful children: Lorelei, Scott, Holly, Todd, Jeff, Lane and Story, ranging from ages 49 to 3 years, 3 beautiful grandchildren , and a beautiful wife, Amanda.

One thing that is not in this bio, or the one listed below, is that when he was 16 he “borrowed” an airplane from a neighbor in the middle of the night.  He got it out of their barn and taught himself to fly.  He returned the airplane unharmed to the barn.  He laughed about this when he was telling us the story.  It’s an example of how he wants to know about the inner workings of every single thing that he can get his hands on.  It’s why he was a part-time surgeon while he was an astronaut. 

You can find a MUCH more in depth bio at

These pictures were taken from a website that previews his book.  You can find that website here.  His book has a lot of really amazing space pictures as well as pictures of the sky and other things.  This is a picture I found through Google images.  If you click on the picture it will take to the original website, which has other awesome pics taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  That is actually Story in the picture.

I have also included several youtube videos that I really liked.  The first video is where he talks about the human body.  I actually quoted him verbatim from that video.  The second video is an entire presentation.  It’s long, but I think you will  really enjoy it if you take the time to watch it.  The third video is an interview about his time at mission control.  The last video is at a conference where he talks about how vast the universe is.  The Bible says in Genesis that God created the heavens (plural) and the earth.  It also talks in several places about God spreading/stretching out the heavens.  That is my only opinion on space.  I just wanted to throw it out there before you watch the last video.  

If you watch to end of this video you will see Story talk about how it takes all parts of a machine to work.
This is a long video that I hope you will take time to watch at some point.
This is an interview with Story about when he was part of Mission Control.
This is a short video to get a feel for Story Musgrave.

Other websites you can visit to see more are:


I hope you have enjoyed Story Musgrave as much as I did.


1 comment:

  1. wow, he sounds like a fascinating man! thank you for sharing his story.


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