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, he learned how to face his fear and perform under pressure. He is a highly decorated U.S. Air Force pilot. Decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross for combat valor, and numerous other services awards.
Ron flew as an instructor in the Air Forces’ 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 selection as a NASA Astronaut, Ron participated in 8-years of intense training in all aspects of space exploration while 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. Conducted extensive development work in Africa. Manna was recognized as one of Ten Top Innovators in the field of water purification.
Ron spent 18 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 Ltd. The organization wrote the methodology that the UN 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 to the ISS. He conducted 3 spacewalks on that mission in support of ISS construction.
Launching from the same launchpad that Yuri Gagarin launched from 50 years prior, Ron was a fully integrated member of a Russian spacecraft crew for a 6-month mission aboard the ISS. As the US segment lead of 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 4.
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 the development of a brand new market in the stratosphere. Throughout his tenure, he served as Chief Pilot, Senior Vice President, Co-President, and is presently a strategic advisor.
Ron wrote the critically acclaimed book: The Orbital Perspective – Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles