Richard Robert “Ricky” Arnold II was born November 26, 1963 in Cheverly, Maryland. He was raised in Bowie, Maryland. In 1985, Ricky earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Frostburg State University in Maryland. He completed the requirements for his teaching certification from Frostburg in 1988, and earned his master’s degree in marine, estuarine, and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland in 1992.
In 1987, Ricky began working at the United States Naval Academy as an oceanographic technician. After earning his teaching credential, he accepted a position as a science teacher at John Hanson Middle School in Waldorf, Mayland. In 1993, Ricky joined the faculty at the Casablanca American School in Casablanca, Morocco, where he instructed courses in college preparatory biology and marine environmental science. While there, the gifted educator began presenting workshops at various international education conferences focusing on science teaching methodologies. In 1996, Ricky and his family moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he was employed as a middle and high school science teacher at the American International School. Before long, Ricky was hired by International Schools Services to teach middle school mathematics and science at the International Schools in Kuala Kencana, in West Papua, Indonesia, and in Bucharest, Romania.
Ricky was selected as a Mission Specialist Educator by NASA in May, 2004. After becoming an astronaut, he flew on space shuttle mission STS-119, which was launched on March 15, 2009. On this fourteen-day mission, this remarkable educator-astronaut delivered the final set of solar arrays to the International Space Station. He completed two space walks. Not content to end his career in space, in August, 2007, Ricky served as an aquanaut during the NEEMO 13 project, an exploration research missino held in Aquarius, the world’s ponly existing undersea research laboratory.