Richard Arnold is an American educator and a NASA astronaut. He was born Richard Robert Arnold II on November 26, 1963 in Cheverly, Maryland. He was raised in Bowie, Maryland, where he met and married his wife, Eloise. Together, the couple has two daughters. Arnold received his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Frostburg State University in 1985, and two years later he started working at the United States Naval Academy as an Oceanographic Technician. After he finished his teacher certification program in 1988, he accepted a position as a science teacher at John Hanson Middle School in Waldorf, Maryland. During his time teaching, he worked on his Master’s degree in Marine, Estuarine, & Environmental Sciences at the University of Maryland, and graduated in 1992. In 1993, Arnold joined the faculty at the Casablanca American School in Morocco where he taught Biology and Marine Environmental Science. Concurrently, he was also presenting science-based workshops at different international education conferences. In 1996, Arnold and his family moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he worked as a middle and high school science teacher. In 2001, Arnold was hired by International School Services to teach middle school mathematics and science at the International School of Kuala Kencana in West Papua, Indonesia. In 2003, he accepted a similar teaching position at the American International School of Bucharest in Bucharest, Romania.
In 2004, Arnold was selected by NASA as a Mission Specialist-Educator. In February 2006, he completed his intensive Astronaut Candidate Training and was ready to fly. Upon completion of his training, Arnold was assigned to the Hardware Integration Team in the Space Station Branch working on mechanical problems that they were having with JAXA hardware. In August 2007, he served as a mission specialist on a joint NASA-NOAA mission, NEEMO 13, where he lived and worked in and around Aquarius, which is the world’s only undersea laboratory. During the 10 day mission, the crew conducted experiments and operations in a virtual lunar outpost in support of their visions for a return to Moon and the future exploration of Mars.
He then returned to the Hardware Integration Team until he was assigned to the STS-119 spaceflight. The mission launched on March 15, 2009 and successfully delivered the final set of solar arrays to the International Space Station. They also returned with a crew member, and Arnold performed 12 hours of EVA during two spacewalks. They landed at Kennedy Space Center 12 days later.