Ingenuity Among the Stars

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NASA Astronaut and U.S. Army Colonel Doug Wheelock has spent more than 178 days in space. A number of those have included some unforeseen challenges. In addition to his work as Crew Support Astronaut, trainer and liason for multiple missions, Doug has flown aboard the International Space Station twice. In 2007, he served as an ISS mission specialist. Then, in 2010, he was ISS commander during its Expedition 25. But a common denominator of both of his times on board the ISS: emergency situations which Doug and his fellow crew members had to troubleshoot. Both times on board the International Space Station, he and his team have dealt with unexpected emergencies. During his first time on the ISS in 2007, Doug performed four contingency spacewalks. He and his fellow spacewalkers repaired a torn solar array and replaced a failed ammonia pump module, according to NASA's astronaut biography page. But the next time Doug was aboard the ISS, things became even more dramatic. His 2010 service as commander of the ISS included troubleshooting an emergency shutdown of half the ISS' external cooling system. Doug served as the lead spacewalker, NASA says, replacing the pump that caused the shutdown. His actions restored the cooling system to full function. After both of his missions, Doug and his fellow team members were honored for their ingenuity and bravery. During NASA's International Space Apps Challenge, in Pasadena, Doug was on hand to work with the teams using NASA open data in "the universe's largest hackathon", to solve world problems. He talked about his experiences, life aboard the International Space Station, and some of the most exciting "hacks" he was seeing from the Space Apps teams at the Cross Campus facility. On this episode of Over Coffee®, you'll hear: How Doug first became interested in aviation and space travel; What Doug tells the astronauts he trains, about efficient spacewalking; What an average day is like, aboard the ISS; How Doug spent his leisure time, aboard the International Space Station; How the crew manages "crew sleep", with a sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes; The procedures NASA astronauts are trained to observe, after an emergency alarm; Doug's recollections of his experience in 2010, when half the ISS' cooling system shut down; Some of the innovations Doug saw teams coming up with, at 2016 International Space Apps Pasadena; Doug's advice for innovators.

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