Michael A. Stecker


Donald R. Pettit, Ph.D.
Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas

Contact information

I am an American astronaut and a veteran of a six month stay aboard the International Space Station.  I am married with two children

I was
born (1955) and raised in Silverton, Oregon.  After graduating from Silverton Union High School, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Oregon State University in 1978 and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Arizona in 1983.  After graduate school I worked as a staff scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where I worked on reduced gravity fluid flow and materials processing experiments on board the NASA KC-135 airplane, atmospheric spectroscopy on noctilucent clouds seeded from sounding rockets, fumarole gas sampling from volcanoes, and problems in detonation physics.  I was also was a member of the Synthesis Group, slated with assembling the technology to return to the moon and explore Mars (1990), and the Space Station Freedom Redesign Team (1993).

In 1996 I was selected as an astronaut candidate and after two years of training at the Johnson Space Center became a NASA Mission Specialist.  As an astronaut I participated in Expedition-6, Nov. 23, 2002 to May 3, 2003 and was NASA International Space Station (ISS) Science Officer aboard the International Space Station, logging over 161 days in space, including over 13 EVA hours. During 5-1/2 months aboard the International Space Station, the crew worked with numerous U.S. and Russian science experiments. Along with the mission commander Ken Bowersox we performed 2 EVAs (spacewalks) to continue the external outfitting of the orbital outpost. The Expedition-6 crew launched on STS-113 Space Shuttle Endeavour and returned to Earth on Soyuz TMA-1. While on the ISS I did most of the astro-imaging.

Don Pettit videos
From Above - Astronaut Photography with Don Pettit

Astronauts' Guide to Photography

The Tyranny of the Rocket Equation

 2011 six month Mission: ISS Expedition 30




Cities At Night
by Donald Pettit from aboard the International Space Station

Houston, Texas (cropped in fog) from International Space Station Expedition 6, 2002-2003
NASA Cities at Night Website

Superb YouTube Video of cities from around the world:
YouTube Cities At Night Video narrated by Don Pettit



Don with barn-door tracker



ISS: Don photographing Africa in daylight



Amateur astronomy observations from space -- IPY, 2007-2008
Report by Donald Pettit (9.8 MB)
Don's expedition to Antarctica

Observing site
International Space Station
(approximate 250 miles above earth)

ISS: May, 2006



ISS005-E-21513 (26 November 2002) --- The Expedition Six crewmembers, wearing Russian Sokol suits, pose for a crew photo in the functional cargo block (FGB), or Zarya, on the International Space Station (ISS). Pictured are astronaut Donald R. Pettit (front), NASA ISS science officer; cosmonaut Nikolai M. Budarin (left back), flight engineer; and astronaut Kenneth D. Bowersox, mission commander.

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