Captain and former astronaut Jerry Linenger, who survived the most severe fire ever aboard an orbiting spacecraft, is one of eight storyteller astronauts featured in National Geographic’s ONE STRANGE ROCK, executive produced by Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures and Jane Root’s Nutopia. As part of the elite few to have experienced Earth from outer space, Linenger provides a unique perspective of Earth – our curiously calibrated, interconnected, fragile planet.
Surviving a fire during one of the most dramatic missions in space history, Linenger spent nearly five months aboard the Russian Space Station Mir. He faced numerous life-threatening events in addition to the fire, including repeated failure of critical life-support systems; a near-collision between the space station and an incoming re-supply spacecraft; and computer failures that sent the space station tumbling uncontrollably through space.
In completing the treacherous mission, Linenger logged 50 million miles, the equivalent distance of more than 110 round trips to the moon. He was the first American ever to undock from a space station in a Russian Soyuz capsule and the first to do a spacewalk in a Russian spacesuit. In 2008, NASA awarded Linenger the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award conferred by NASA, citing his courage and outstanding service to country.
Linenger is a founding board member of the global freshwater think tank Circle of Blue and a member of the advisory board at the sustainability leader, Volans.
He is author of the books Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station MIR, which chronicles his perilous time in space, and Letters from Mir: An Astronauts Letters to His Son. He has collaborated with National Geographic Explorer on The Angel Effect, a documentary revealing how he was able to endure the solitary conditions of his mission and the science behind the “Third-man Factor” – the phenomenon where those in dire situations have felt a sudden presence at their side, inspiring them to survive.
A father of four, Linenger resides in northern Michigan with his wife, Kathryn, and enjoys running, bicycling, swimming, writing and stand-up paddle boarding in his free time.