Good has high-flying dreams

Will work with space station in new job

Staff writer

Ethan Good has had his head stuck in the stars since learning about space at Marion Elementary School. Good has accepted a job working with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, as a visiting vehicle officer.

“We will control a robotic arm that attaches shuttles (to the International Space Station),” he said. “It takes lots of planning and coordination between us, mission controls, and those aboard the shuttle.”

Good will work with mission control to help shuttles dock and undock from the international space station beginning Sept. 30 provided he passes extensive background checks.

“I’m a little nervous because there is a lot to do before my start date,” he said. “I have to complete some pretty big hurdles, but hopefully everything checks out on time, and I can get paperwork filled out to become an official Texan.”

Good said he would also be developing flight rules and procedures.

“Two out of three vehicles we will be working with are still new, so we’re still trying to figure out how to do things better,” he said.

Good is contracted with NASA through a company called United Space Alliance. He hopes the job is a foot in the door with the space giant.

“I eventually want to become an astronaut,” he said. “I’ve been working toward that goal since elementary school.”

After first learning about space in elementary school, Good attended space camp at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson for two years. He was a 2001 graduate in aerospace engineering from Kansas University and returned to receive his masters in 2005.

Since graduating, Good has worked at the Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the South Pole.

“I worked in Antarctic for three years,” he said. “The first year I washed dishes, but after they realized I was an engineer, I started doing research. You only see one sunset and one sunrise a year.”

He performed experiments 800 miles inland on the frozen continent for the government and universities for three years before returning home in 2012.

While there, Good received news that he was asked to submit a physical to NASA to be considered for astronaut selection. Good was one of 400 candidates chosen out of 6,000, he said.

“I got the only doctor in our camp to do the physical,” he said. “I wasn’t chosen, but that was the closest I’ve come so far, and I plan on getting all the way eventually.”

Until then, Good is happy having a job closer to home, with one foot in the door.

“I can see how NASA does business and meet people,” he said, “and be only half a day’s drive from home.”

Good hopes his small town values get him into outer space.

“I like the small town, but Marion does not have a space center, but it’s nice to have that foundation of manners and getting along with people that will go a long way,” he said. “I’m pretty excited to see where the goes.”

 

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