Astronaut Greg Johnson comes to Koester

Anthony Weber | Troy Daily News Koester Pavilion Admissions Coordinator Kristy Osting listens as Astronaut Greg Johnson speaks regarding his experiences and the future at the Upper Valley Medical Center campus Thursday in Troy.

TROY — Some walkers or runners experience the runners’ high, but very few treadmill users can describe their experience as out of this world.

Although the patients at Koester Pavilion can say so.

The rehabilitation center recently announced it is one of the few facilities in the state to possess the ALTER-G Antigravity Treadmill. The treadmill was designed by NASA to mimic weightlessness before and reintegration back to gravity on Earth after Shuttle Missions.

In addition to talking about the treadmill, Astronaut Colonel Greg Johnson came to Koester to present highlight missions of his two Space Shuttle Missions to the International Space Station: STS-123 and STS-134.

He also talked about the science, research and technology development in space and at the space station.

Johnson’s family moved to Fairborn when he was in eighth grade for his father’s job as a musician at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He graduated from Park Hills High School in Fairborn and then left Ohio for college.

During his time as a pilot astronaut, he said he was lucky enough to be on a couple of space shuttle missions, helping to assemble the international space station.

“Now I’m working with the Center for the Advancement of Science and Space and we’re trying to maximize the use of the space station and also inspire the next generation of explorers, astronauts and explorers,” he said.

He also talked about training before and after missions and the different things astronauts will train in preparation for.

“For me, it was the space shuttle,” he said. “Other astronauts train for the space station. Now we have astronauts who are in training for other vehicles that are yet to be built. Prior to the mission is some more intense training focusing on exactly what you’re going to do in space. For me, we choreographed the missions we were doing for the international space station.”

Geology training is another area astronauts receive instruction in when they go to the moon or Mars, as is outdoor leadership training.

“Because we take expeditions to space for long periods of time, team building—operating as a unit — is really important,” he said.

Many of the individuals who came to his presentation were school-age children. Johnson said if he had to give any students interested in space or science advice, it would be how the most important thing is not to do something for the wrong reason.

“You do it because you love it,” he said. “I’ve seen people go into medical fields or become an attorney or do some other job they didn’t really want to do but got into it because of an uncle or parents saying, ‘Hey, this is what you should do.’ Do something you love, and you will do it very well. Love the steps along the way because each of those steps are fulfilling and rewarding.”

The ALTER-G Antigravity Treadmill was made possible at Koester Pavilion through the Upper Valley Medical Center Foundation.