The Orbital Perspective

Astronaut Ron Garan

How can you not read a book that starts out, "I have wanted to write this book since returning to Earth from my first space mission in 2008"?

Well, that's exactly how astronaut Ron Garan's new book, The Orbital Perspective, starts.

Garan is a retired NASA astronaut who has traveled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of our planet during more than 178 days in space and 27 hours and 3 minutes of EVA (extravehicular activity) during four spacewalks.

For Garan, living on the International Space Station (ISS) was a transformative experience – one he believes that can help us solve the world’s toughest crises. Though exploration in space led Garan to many new frontiers; perhaps his most important discovery came in the form of a parallel reality. On Earth, the former US fighter pilot during the Cold War fought the Russians; in space, the US and Russia worked as allies.

As he took in a spectacular view of the planet from the ISS, Garan’s “Orbital Perspective” took shape. If fifteen nationalities could collaborate on one of the most ambitious missions in history, then surely, we could apply that level of cooperation and innovation to creating a better world.

Garan wrote this book to communicate a call to action. To help create a global movement -- a movement of inhabitants of planet Earth who are willing to set aside their differences and work together toward our common goals.

"I am asking everyone to look for ways to create exponential, disruptive, positive action -- action that leads to exponential advancement toward solving the challenges facing our world," says Garan.

"I hope that after reading this book you will agree that we're on to something big that can potentially change the present trajectory of our global society and put it on a profoundly more positive path," he adds.

Garan explains that hovering above Earth he came to believe that the problem we face lies primarily in our inability to collaborate effectively on a global scale.

"There are millions of organizations around the world working to improve life on Earth, but for the most part these organizations are not engaged in a unified, coordinated effort. There is a great deal of duplication of effort, loss of efficiency, and unfortunately, in many cases, destructive competition that does not lead to better products or services," explains Garan.

 "If there's one thing I've learned in my travels around the world, it's that people are people. There are more things that we share in common than things that separate us," says Garan.

Fun Space Facts (from the book)
  • It took Garan three years and many weeks in space before his neck muscles really adjusted to sleeping without gravity.
  • On Earth, the ISS, which is bigger than a football field, would weigh over one million pounds.
  • Every night, Garan and his crew mate had a ritual of listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon while they set up their equipment for the next day, and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” before heading out to space.
  • The temperature in the shade in space falls to –250ºF, and 250ºF in the sunlight.
Thanks to the book's publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.


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