Nebraska’s own Astronaut heading back to Space

Nebraska's only Astronaut is training for another launch into space. This one set for March 18th.  This will be Clay Anderson's second trip into space.  And now that NASA's shuttle program is winding down, he says this time its extra special.

It's been a year in the making and hours spent in a deep swimming pool trying to simulate zero gravity trying to simulate what will take place one week from now. That's when aboard the discovery Ashland native Clay Anderson will be walking in space, again.

“I'm looking forward to being out on the edge if you will and seeing the views and taking some pictures and having a little bit of fun,” Anderson said. But there's work to be done too. The 4 man, 3 woman crew's mission is to replace an ammonia tank assembly, retrieve a Japanese experiment from the station's exterior and switch out an electronic box that helps the station maintain its position in space.

Anderson is signed up for 3 spacewalks that require him to ride on the end of the shuttle's robotic arm. But when the shuttle gets to its orbital outpost, Anderson will get to see some familiar faces. One being Oleg Kotov, his Russian crewmate on board the station in 2007.

“I look forward to both going back to the physical environment of space and the space station but then I also get to meet and fly in space again with some wonderful people,” Anderson said.

In 2007, his stay on the International space station lasted 152 days. This trip being only 13, he says his family can rest a little easier.  But still won't breathe a sigh of relief until the mission is complete.

“Right now for my daughter it's still pretty cool and makes her popular in school… My son is like been there done that,” Anderson said.

But the day of launch there's still some anxiety. NASA plans to end the shuttle program sometime this year.  That means Anderson is one of the last astronauts who will be able to take a ride on a space shuttle.