Since being selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2000, Lake Orion native Andrew Feustel has been on three space missions and spent more than 61 hours on space walks outside the shuttle.
While floating 250 miles above the Earth earlier this year, Feustel added something new to his space resume: singer-songwriter. He recorded a music video for “All Around the World,” a song written by his friend Gord Sinclair.
Feustel said when he first heard the song, he found it “hauntingly beautiful.”
“It was a great honor for me to sing that song that he brought together, and I thought it really did a good job of capturing the pace of the way we see the Earth and the things that we think about while we’re in space," Feustel said.
Humans have been living on the International Space Station since 2000, and NASA hopes to continue operating the station through 2028. Feustel served as a commander on his most recent trip there, which lasted 197 days and took him around the Earth 3,152 times.
“Our intent is to maintain permanent human presence in space, in lower Earth orbit on the International Space Station. It serves as an international laboratory for science and technology, both looking at science that’s important for the Earth and people of the Earth, and also science and technology that’s important to help us as humans learn to live off of the planet,” Feustel explained.
Feustel said that after years of looking at the Earth from above, where it's difficult to spot manmade borders distinguishing one country from another, he’s become more aware of our global socio-political challenges.
“I think at this point, I have more of a desire to see more unity, and I’m thinking longer term, not just about my generation or the next, but the entire survival of the human species,” Feustel said.
He said it’s the job of astronauts to inspire the next generation of explorers and to encourage the youth of the world “to think about all of the opportunities they have” and “try to break those borders.”
Feustel isn’t sure when he’ll return to space. He says it’s important to take adequate time to readjust to Earth before heading back to life among the stars. But in the meantime, he plans to continue supporting missions to space and training astronauts who are getting ready to travel to the ISS.
“We just continue along the process, just like we have for the past 18 years, of preparing people to fly, flying them to space, and making sure we bring them back safely.”
Listen above to hear more about Feustel’s experiences as an astronaut, and how his time as a student at Oakland Community College helped launch his academic and professional career in space science.
This post was written by Stateside production assistant Isabella Isaacs-Thomas.