Flew combat missions in support of the liberation of Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. Served in the Gulf War flying an F-16 for the Air Force. Ejected from an ailing F-16 seconds before crashing. During this time, Ron learned how to face his fear and to perform under pressure. He is a highly decorated US Air Force pilot. Decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross for combat valor, and numerous other service awards.
Ron flew as an instructor in the Air Force’s elite training unit at the USAF Fighter Weapons School.
Attended US Navy Test Pilot School and flew test missions in the 39th and 40th Flight Test Squadrons at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
After his selection as a NASA astronaut, Ron participated in eight years of intense training in all aspects of space exploration while also holding a number of technical positions within NASA’s Astronaut Corps at the Johnson Space Center, Houston. During this period Ron also contributed to both the Columbia mishap investigation and the subsequent return-to-flight effort.
Ron founded and led the social enterprise incubator, Manna Energy Foundation, which conducted extensive development work in Africa. Manna was recognized as one of ten top innovators in the field of water purification.
Ron spent eighteen days living and working on the bottom of the ocean as a crew member on the NEEMO 9 undersea mission. Objectives included developing lunar surface exploration procedures, telemedicine, and telerobotic surgery for future lunar outposts.
Ron co-created the social enterprise, Manna Energy Limited. The organization wrote the methodology that the United Nations adopted to award carbon credits for the purification of water. Manna worked with partner organizations to provide clean water to millions in Kenya and Rwanda.
Ron flew his first mission to space as a crew member on Space Shuttle Discovery to carry up and install the Japanese laboratory on the International Space Station. He conducted three spacewalks on that mission in support of ISS construction.
Launching from the same launchpad that Yuri Gagarin had launched from fifty years prior, Ron was a fully integrated member of a Russian spacecraft crew for a six month mission aboard the ISS. As the US segment lead aboard the space station, he hosted the last two space shuttle missions and conducted the last space shuttle based spacewalk of the space shuttle era, bringing his total spacewalks to four.
Ron worked with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop collaborative tools to better conduct development and humanitarian missions.
Ron joined the commercial spaceflight company, World View, where he helped bring the new start-up to operational status and assisted in the development of a brand-new market in the stratosphere. Throughout his tenure, he served as chief pilot, senior vice president and co-president, and strategic advisor.
Ron wrote the critically acclaimed book The Orbital Perspective : Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles.