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Connie Washa of Grant speaks with retired Nebraska Astronaut Clayton Anderson about her uncle who worked in the space program when it first began.

Nebraska astronaut Clayton Anderson hosts book signing in Ogallala

Retired Nebraska Astronaut Clayton Anderson was in Ogallala on Sept. 13 to speak to students and host a book signing. 

Anderson’s book, “The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut,” takes readers on the journey of the small-town boy from Nebraska who spent 167 days living and working on the International Space Station, including more than forty hours of space walks. With a mix of levity and gravitas, Anderson gives an authentic view of the highs and the lows, the triumphs and the tragedies of life as a NASA astronaut.

Originally from Ashland, Anderson was an astronaut with NASA for 15 years. In 2007, he spent a 5-month tour of duty working aboard the International Space Station. 

In 2010 he was part of a 15-day resupply mission to the International Space Station.

Anderson retired from NASA in January 2013. 

Book signing

Several community members attended the book signing at Prairie View School’s library where they were able to speak with Anderson, visiting with him about his experiences in space. 

One topic of interest for students and adults alike was how Anderson grew while in space. Past studies have shown that when the spine is not exposed to the pull of Earth’s gravity, the vertebra can expand and relax, allowing astronauts to actually grow taller. Once the astronauts return to Earth, their height returns to normal after a few months.

Local shares story

Connie Washa of Grant was present to meet Anderson and speak with him about her uncle, Lawrence Walker, who worked on the first space shuttles. 

Walker, originally from Ogallala, moved to California to begin his career with the North American Aviation Company, advancing to the space program North American Rockwell. Walker became acquainted with the first astronauts as he worked closely with them beginning with the Mercury Spacecraft through Apollo 11. 

He received many citations for his work and received letters of commendation from many of the astronauts for his efforts with the space program. 

Walker retired after 41 years and passed away at the age of 85. 

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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