Official NASA portrait of Ron Garan wearing a spacesuit
Mortenson Fellow

Ron Garan is a highly decorated combat fighter pilot who served as an Instructor Pilot at the prestigious USAF Fighter Weapon’s School (the Air Force version of Top Gun). He also served as a test pilot and graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School. Ron has spent 178 days in space and has traveled more than 71 million miles in 2,842 orbits of our planet. He flew on both the US Space Shuttle and Russian Soyuz spacecraft where he accomplished four spacewalks. Ron also spent 18 days at the bottom of the ocean during a research mission held in the world’s only undersea research lab, Aquarius. He is celebrated not just for his research in space, but for his humanitarian contribution to life on earth. Ron also authored the critically acclaimed book "The Orbital Perspective – Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles" and has two new books coming out, "Floating in Darkness - A Journey of Evolution" and "Railroad to the Moon". For more information please visit Ron's website.

Ron Garan delivered the keynote speech at the 2020 Mortenson Center Global Engineering Awards.


  • Master of Science, Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida
  • Master of Aeronautical Science, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Bachelor of Science, Business Economics, SUNY College at Oneonta

Recent Publications

Garan, Ron. Floating in Darkness: A Journey of Evolution. New Epoch Publishing, 2021. Print.

Garan, RonThe Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of Seventy-one Million Miles. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2015. Print.