Livingston native and NASA Astronaut Mike McCulley celebrated a visit to his hometown Monday.
Captain McCulley said even though he wasn’t born in Livingston, the area always felt like home.
“And I truly was raised by this village. Which meant a couple of things. One, I couldn’t get away with anything as a young kid growing up because everybody knew Momma,” McCulley said. “But my sister and I agree this was a wonderful place for us to recover and grow up after losing our father.”
McCulley graduated from Livingston Academy in 1961 and joined the Navy soon after.
Eventually, McCulley piloted Space Shuttle Atlantis during the STS-34 mission in 1989. McCulley said he enjoyed space travel.
“Working in zero gravity is different, but not hard. It was just different,” McCulley said. “The hardest part was the training because the trainers were merciless and it is very complicated, rockets are very complicated things.”
McCulley said the crew had predetermined missions and tasks on board the shuttle.
“I got those all accomplished, some science, some physical. But looking out the window, which is what I always loved about airplanes as well,” McCulley said. “But looking in around Earth and 16 orbits every 24 hours, going around the earth every 90 minutes. If I had a few seconds even, my face was in a window.”
McCulley said NASA rejected him two times before accepting him as an astronaut.
“There was nothing extraordinary about me. But as I also said I was always curious.” McCulley said. “I was never afraid to work hard, and I was always optimistic.”
McCulley gave a presentation and signed autographs at the Millard Oakley Public Library.