Wheelock has served with the NASA space program since 1998. He was a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2007, logging almost 400 hours in space and performing three spacewalks. He has served as the primary liaison between NASA and the Russian Space Agency, as well as the Russian aerospace industry. He is scheduled to launch on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft later this year, serving as commander of the International Space Station and its six-person international crew during ISS Expedition 25.
In addition to his appearance at the Associates Dinner, Wheelock spent a day on the OC campus connecting with students. He spoke in an engineering class, in Chapel, at another gathering in Judd Theatre, and for a group of at-risk female middle-school students who are mentored by OC female engineering students.