We already knew that retired NASA astronaut Leland Melvin was pretty awesome. After all the former NFL player has logged more than 10 million miles in space travel and met the Obamas and Elmo. Then we saw his official astronaut photo, the one with the dogs.
Photo from NASA Leland Melvin, aka our new most-favorite-astronaut-ever, with his dogs Scout and Jake. Because of course an official portrait requires dogs.
But of course, as with all the best things, NASA didn't exactly mean for this photo to happen. Melvin, who retired from NASA in February 2014, had a pretty long space career, according to the NASA website. He was an 11th round draft pick in 1986 for the Detroit Lions, but after the NFL didn't work out, Melvin got a job at NASA.
In 1998 he was accepted into the astronaut program and he was on two missions, in 2008 and 2009, on the Space Shuttle Atlantis and orbited the Earth 374 times. However, his career was cut short after he went deaf during an underwater training exercise. He didn't let that stop him though. Melvin became the head of NASA Education and is the co-chair of a White House Education Task Force to help develop the nation's STEM education plan.More »