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Astronaut born in Wheat Ridge reflects on spending time in space aboard the International Space Station

Matt Dominick is currently aboard the International Space Station on a six-month mission.
Matt Dominick_NASA
Posted at 3:33 PM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 08:00:56-04

DENVER, CO — Have you ever wondered what life is like up aboard the International Space Station (ISS)? Colorado astronaut Matt Dominick gives an inside look at space life and the important work happening at the station.

Dominick was born in Wheat Ridge, where he lived until he was 18 and went off to college. Today, he is in the middle of a six-month mission at the ISS.

He is not only a NASA astronaut, but the commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission.

Astronaut born in Wheat Ridge reflects on spending time in space aboard the International Space Station

Earlier this year, he launched into space in the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, along with two other Americans, and in early March, he stepped onto the ISS, where he is currently adjusting to space life.

"Being in space is incredible, obviously," Dominick said. "I mean, from the little things — you wake up in your crew quarters and you get to float to work every morning, to looking outside and seeing the beautiful Earth, seeing the aurora, seeing lightning storms."

It is the thing dreams are made of for thousands of kids who grow up wanting to be astronauts, but believe it or not, that wasn’t really a thought for Matt.

Matt Dominick

“I wanted to explore and work with smart people and do cool things and go faster or fly airplanes with the Navy, so this is something that was like 'Oh, I think maybe I should apply for that. Let's do that. This is pretty awesome,'" Dominick said. "Because it meant a lot of the things I really love to do. And so I don't think there was any single inflection point but, you know, was always moving towards it in my life."

Between experiencing zero gravity and taking in beautiful scenery, Dominick and his crew help to advance the United States in its space exploration journey.

“So, we’re kind of everything up here, right? So, initial responsibility was getting the crew up here safely on the Crew Dragon and managing a rocket ship and keeping folks safe and working with Mission Control SpaceX and Mission Control Houston to get that done,” Dominick explained.

They are not only doing important research but taking care of housekeeping items as well.

“So the other day, I was literally trying to cover up paint that was peeling off — something as simple as that to fixing the toilet,” Dominick said.

The ISS is home after all, at least for the next few months. It's a home that has a view that is literally out of this world.

“We've had a couple passes over Colorado," he said. "I'm still waiting for the perfectly clear day. But I've definitely seen the beautiful Colorado Front Range. And I've seen Fort Collins and Denver and Boulder, as we come screaming by at 17,500 miles an hour."

The Colorado Rocky Mountains are beautiful, he said.

"The Earth and our nature and our environment is so fragile," he said. "Take care of what we've got there and just absolutely love that natural environment in Denver. Keep it beautiful."

For kids interested in becoming an astronaut, Dominick encourages them to follow their dreams to infinity and beyond.

“The jobs that we're doing here on the space station, the jobs that we're gonna go do on the moon, on the surface or orbiting the moon — it takes all kinds of people from all different backgrounds," Dominick said. "And why not just go do what you love? And then come join us."

Dominick will spend six months in total on the ISS before returning to the United States. Once back on the ground, he will help to develop the next spacecraft to send American astronauts to the moon.


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