Clayton Anderson is an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. He was born Clayton Conrad Anderson on February 23, 1959 in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from Ashland-Greenwood High School in Nebraska in 1977 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Hastings College in Nebraska four years later. He also earned a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University in 1983. He received an Honorary Degree from Hastings College in 2004. Anderson is married to Susan Jane, and they have two children, Cole and Sutton Marie.
Following his 1983 graduation, Anderson joined the Johnson Space Center in the Mission Planning and Analysis Division. There he executed meetings and proximity operation trajectory designs for early Space Shuttle and Space Station missions. In 1988, he was chosen to be the Mission Operations Directorate as a Flight Design Manager who led the trajectory design team for the Galileo planetary mission while simultaneously serving as the backup for the Magellan planetary mission. In 1996, Anderson held the post of Manager of the Emergency Operations Center at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
NASA selected Anderson as an astronaut candidate in June 1998. Two months later he reported for training, which included orientations, many scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival techniques. At first Anderson served as the lead for the Enhanced Caution and Warning System within the Space Shuttle Cockpit Avionics Upgrade Project. He also served as an ISS Capsule Communicator and as the Astronaut Office crew representative for the center’s power system. In November 2002, Anderson completed EVA training and was selected as back-up flight engineer for Expedition 12, Expedition 13 and Expedition 14 to the International Space Station. He was first launched into space on June 8, 2007 aboard Shuttle Atlantis as Mission Specialist 5 for the STS-117. Like many astronauts, Anderson was a licensed amateur radio operator. He continued Michael Lopez-Alegria’s tradition aboard the International Space Station by hosting daily trivia contests with mission control team members on Earth. However, he put a spin on it and started using newspaper and music clips as well. Anderson often played song clips, and one time in particular, he played the song “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams for his wife’s birthday. He finally returned to Earth aboard Discovery on mission STS-120 on November 7, 2007. In April 2010, STS-131 launched with Anderson in tow as a Mission Specialist. The main shipment of this mission was a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module packed with supplies and equipment for the International Space Station.