WINTER, WI –
Born and raised in Northern Wisconsin, a local NASA astronaut returned to his hometown of Winter, Wisconsin to share his adventures of life aboard the International Space Station.
Jeff Williams, a 20 year long astronaut for NASA currently holds the American record for most collective days spent in space, a total of 534.
“Being in space is an awesome experience it's everything you might imagine and more” says Williams.
Williams is a veteran of four space flights including one aboard the International Space Station. He has worked on hundreds of experiments, walked in space twice, and captured more photographs of the Earth than any other astronaut in history.
He says, “the view out the window, orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes and seeing all the incredible detail of the Earths surface and the weather systems, the land forms, the oceans and what not you never get tired of that vantage point.”
Each space flight involves living in zero gravity for six months and according to Williams, returning to earth takes a toll on the body.
“I would say it takes a week to ten days to fully gain your sense of balance and your coordination and it can take six weeks to get your muscles back into shape and to get over the soreness.”
The astronaut and his family currently live outside of Houston, Texas, however, Williams was raised in the small town of Winter, Wisconsin.
“It's been a great honor to have the community here at Winter, and the greater Winter area, and really all of Northern Wisconsin to kind of follow along and support me.”
Every few years, Williams makes the trek to Northern Wisconsin to share his experiences with the people of his hometown. Williams most recent visit was last Thursday.
The Superintendent of the Winter School District, Kurt Lindau says, “I think he's kinda regarded as Winter's hometown hero. He inspires the children because of his influence and experience they say I want to do that some day, I want to be an astronaut, or I want to be an engineer, or I want to be a pilot.”
Williams expressed, “I think it's important to take this experience, which is a very unique experience obviously and come back and make an investment back into the community to hopefully inspire some of the folks to work hard and to set their goals high.”
Williams says he's currently content keeping his boots on the earth's surface. He just returned from a six month stint in September and says “I'm not in a hurry to go back.”
He hopes he can return to Winter in the next few years.