tminus10-Michael Lopez-Alegria

Michael López-Alegría is an American astronaut; a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions and one International Space Station mission. He is known for having performed ten spacewalks so far in his career, presently holding the second longest all-time EVA duration record and having the third longest spaceflight of any American at the length of 215 days; this time was spent on board the ISS from September 18, 2006 to April 21, 2007.


What is your background, where did you grow up?

Born in Madrid of a Spanish father and Italian-American mother. Grew up in Boston and southern California.


When did you first become interested in space?

I was with my family at the beach in SoCal on July 20, 1969. Everyone stopped what they were doing to gather around blankets and transistor radios to listen to the final moments of Eagle’s descent to the lunar surface. Afterward, complete strangers were shaking hands and hugging each other. Even for an 11 year-old, it was very impactful.


What do you think the biggest issue facing the industry today?

The price of launch. But I’m very optimistic overall.


What do you like to do for fun?

Cook. Play the piano. Watch the Boston Red Sox.


What is your favorite movie and why?

Trading Places – out of tradition. I’ve watched it every year on or around Thanksgiving since it came out in 1983.

What are some of your favorite books?

Non-fiction – Fate is the Hunter by Ernest K. Gann; Fiction – Corelli’s Mandolin (de Bernières)

What are you reading now?

I’m now reading Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari

Where do you see the space industry in ten years?

Constellations in LEO doing broadband comm, remote sensing and IoT; one or more orbital commercial human-rated platforms; a fledgling human lunar program

What would you tell people just starting out in the space industry?

Hang on; this is going to be fun!


What three words best describe you?

Rounded. Curious. Tranquil.

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