Space Station Astronaut and Georiga Tech Alumnus Returns to Earth Safely

After a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station, Doug Wheelock, NASA astronaut and Georgia Tech alumnus, and his crewmembers have returned to earth safely.

Commander Doug Wheelock
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In the Tranquility node aboard the International Space Station, Commander Doug Wheelock, a Georgia Tech alumnus, works to install the new Sabatier. Credit: NASA

Wheelock, along with fellow NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on June 15. During the mission, Wheelock served as commander of Expedition 25 and supported three unplanned spacewalks to replace a faulty pump module. The trio spent 163 days in space and landed in Kazakhstan on Nov. 25.

During their mission, the crew worked on more than 120 microgravity experiments in human research, biology and biotechnology, physical and materials sciences, technology development and Earth and space sciences. The crew also celebrated the station’s 10th anniversary of continuous habitation, work and research by international crews on Nov. 2.

Wheelock is from Windsor, N.Y. He received a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science and Engineering from the United States Military Academy, West Point in 1983, and a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1992. Wheelock reported for Astronaut Candidate Training in August 1998.

In total, Wheelock has spent 178 days in space on his two missions. This trip, he tweeted pictures from the International Space Station, attracting thousands of followers and media attention.

“It was really one of major objectives to take what I was seeing and feeling, and the great things we were doing in the way of science on the space station, and bring them back to the planet so everyone could enjoy those and understand what we were doing,” Wheelock said during an interview this morning with Channel 2 Action News WBNG in Bingham, N.Y. “[Twitter] turned out to be a great way to do that.”