My Retirement Application to NASA

written by David Mixson

Not that long ago …

This morning at exactly 9:06 a.m., I logged in to my work computer and submitted my application to retire from NASA. I became eligible several months ago when I reached the magical minimum retirement age.

A few minutes later, I emailed my boss and told him the news. Jeff wasn’t surprised because I’ve been open about the heaviness of my decision.

“Dave, are you sure?”

“I am.”

We chatted for a few minutes longer, then I walked downstairs and told my wife, Sue, that I had made the call. She hugged me and said, “Well, it’s done. That must be a huge relief.”

“Not really,” I said.

Leaving the known for the unknown is never easy. But I know that staying at NASA keeps me from doing something else—whatever that something else might be. I feel relieved and overwhelmed at the same time. I’m ready for a fresh challenge.

By my calculations, I’ve spent over 57,000 hours working at NASA. That doesn’t make me special, but it does make NASA a big part of my life. I’ve lived and breathed it for thirty-three years.

My son, Drew, texted me with an idea a few days later. “Dad, you should share some stories about your time at NASA on LinkedIn.” Hum. That might be interesting, I thought.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m calling it the Make NASA Great Series.

I hope you’ll follow along.

Tomorrow, I’ll share my personal story about the Challenger accident and how it impacted my life. The graphics I had made for the piece bring chills every time I look at them.


* This is the article that started my journey on LinkedIn—and then here.

About the Author

David Mixson writes about Old Space and New Space. He worked as an engineer at NASA for more than thirty years and is the author of three books.

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