Meet the only NASA astronaut to climb Mount Everest
- Scott Parazysnki is the only NASA astronaut who has both flown in space and successfully climbed to the summit of Mount Everest.
- Parazynski, 57, joined NASA as an astronaut in 1992. He flew on five Space Shuttle missions, and participated in seven spacewalks.
- After his first attempt to reach the top of Everest was aborted in 2008 due to a back injury, Parazynski returned the next year, and was successful.
- Italian astronaut Maurizio Cheli became the second person to both fly in space and summit Everest when he reached the peak in 2018.
- Parazynski is also a retired physician who has also explored the inside of volcanoes. He's currently the CEO of a start-up that develops flight technology for drones.
Woman: Houston, we are complete with the environment check.
Narrator: You're looking at arguably one of the most interesting people in the world. Maybe even the universe.
Narrator: His name is Scott Parazynski. And we got to meet him at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Man: Booster ignition and liftoff of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Narrator: Between 1994 and 2007, he flew five missions on the Space Shuttle...
Man: I'm getting it, Jim, don't worry.
Narrator: Completing sevenspacewalkss. And after he retired, he was inducted into NASA's Astronaut Hall of Fame. By the way, Parazynski is a physician. Oh, and he also likes to go exploring inside volcanoes.
Scott Parazynski: Hey everybody! It's Scott. I'm at level zero of Masaya Volcano. This is probably the craziest thing I've ever done.
Narrator: But that's not even Scott Parazynski's most interesting accomplishment. In 2009, he became the first person in history to have both flown in space and climbed the summit of Mount Everest.
Parazynski: You know, I've been an explorer my entire life. I started climbing when I was in my teens, and you know, actually one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen from space is flying directly over the Himalayas. And I could look straight down on the summit of the tallest mountain in the world, and so, I had this beautiful blow-up of Mount Everest above my desk for many years, and I decided, you know, I've been daydreaming about this long enough. It's time to go do it.
Narrator: Parazynski first attempted to summit Everest in 2008 but didn't make it to the top due to a back injury. In May of 2009, he tried again and succeeded.
Parazynski: It took me a couple of attempts, but I did make it to the top of the world, and I made it a round-trip. Very important. I think I'm drawn to physical and intellectual challenge, and so one of the things I love about space flight and also mountaineering and deep-sea diving is it forces us to be really creative, solving enormous technical challenges through technology to make it safe to go there, to perform science there, to support life. I'm really drawn to things that challenge us physically as well as technologically.
Narrator: Parazynski remained the only person to have flown in space and summited Everest until 2018, when Italian astronaut Maurizio Cheli also reached the top. During his career as an astronaut, Parazynski spent 57 days in space. And one of his space walks is considered to be one of the most dangerous of all time.
Man: This is gonna be a big day for NASA.
Narrator: Parazynski's goal? To repair a damaged solar wing on the International Space Station.
Woman: We're more or less at the limit of the station arm's reach.
Narrator: To do this, he was attached to the end of a robotic arm that was 90-feet-long, moving him farther away from the safety of the station's airlock than any astronaut in history.
Narrator: Parazynski got it done.
Woman: Nice teamwork. Discovery's landing gear is down and locked in place.
Parazynski: I was very driven as a kid. I had very supportive parents. I was a big dreamer. And my folks were very adventurous. So as a kid, we traveled all over the world. I lived in West Africa, the Middle East, and around Europe. And so I saw life as an adventure.
Narrator:NASA inducted Parazynski into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2016.
Parazynski: Hey everybody, I'm Scott Parazynski, founder of Fluidity Technlogies. An inventor of FT Aviator.
Narrator: Today, he's the CEO of a start-up that develops flight technology for drones.
Parazynski: One opportunity led to the next. I've continued to try and push myself but also as an adventurer, push technology, and it's been a lot of fun.