Clay Anderson aboard the International Space Station in 2007

The first and only Iowa State University graduate to rocket into orbit aboard the space shuttle says he’s ready for a different sort of challenge.

Clay Anderson, who retired from the U.S. astronaut corps in January of 2013, says he’s launching a new chapter in his career — as an author.

“My first book is going to be published on June the 1st,” Anderson says. “It’s entitled, ‘The Ordinary Spaceman,’ and I’m very excited about that.”

Anderson served two missions aboard the International Space Station and combined, he spent 167 days in orbit.

He got his master’s in aerospace engineering at Iowa State in 1983 and now teaches part-time at ISU in the aerospace engineering department. Anderson says, “I also spend a considerable amount of my time traveling and giving motivational speeches and talks.”

The Ashland, Nebraska, native says his family is now his main focus. His son is a freshman at ISU, his daughter is in 8th grade and Anderson’s wife still works for NASA.

“I would love to go back to space again,” Anderson says. “But even if I were given the opportunity, I think the tax that is placed on my family life in order to train and focus and do that again is probably too much. I need to be home and be around for those guys. They sacrificed for me already. It’s my turn to sacrifice for them.”

Anderson will turn 56 next month.


Karla James contributed to this report