Dr. Melissa Corley Carter, The Barefoot Dancing Rocket Scientist, is an actual rocket scientist, 7 continents marathoner, astronaut reject, award-winning author, speaker, and certified professional coach who helps awesome humans live epic lives. Her dynamic range of life experiences brings a unique blend of art and science to her work.


Melissa believes that your epic life actually IS rocket science, and she'll help you live that life on your terms.

Before becoming a coach, Melissa spent twenty years aspiring to become an astronaut. She earned two engineering degrees from Stanford University, was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, and earned a PhD in astronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. Despite perfect vision after corrective eye surgery, her pre-surgical eyesight disqualified her and shattered her astronaut dream.

In the years since, she’s realized that her astronaut dream emerged from an intuitive knowing of her spiritual connection to the universe, and from a desire to inspire people to greatness the way astronauts had always inspired her. Melissa’s journey has taught her that identity and goals are not synonymous, that even major disappointments hold gifts beyond imagining, and that every experience brings us closer to our purpose on this earth.

Melissa is the author and photographer of the award-winning 2021 coffee table book, Running the World: Marathon Memoirs from the Seven Continents. In her book she shares her epic outer journey across the continents and her epic inner journey of recovering from shattered dreams and realigning her life with powerful purpose.

An inspirational force of nature, Melissa is here to remind you how powerful, unique, and awesome you are, and to help you shine your light even brighter.


Shine My Light and Inspire You to Shine Yours


7.9+ Billion Humans Loving Themselves and Owning How Powerful, Unique, and Awesome They Are


Experience Wonder and Awe

Laugh with Delight

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The Barefoot Dancing Rocket Scientist 

Origin Story

In my mid 20s, one of my favorite activities was swing and country dancing. In my late 20s, I started running barefoot. A month after I turned 30, I earned my astronautical engineering PhD. The Barefoot Dancing Rocket Scientist emerged from what I did, but it's become so much more. It's an embodiment of who I'm being in the world.



For me, the barefoot piece is about grounding. It's about connecting with the earth, the moment, the wisdom of our bodies, and all the deep sources of knowing that are available to us. It’s about finding beauty and simplicity in all things natural, whether it’s natural movement, leveraging our natural gifts and strengths, or connecting with the most natural, true, and aligned dream in our hearts.


The dancing piece is about connection. It’s about artistry and teamwork. A strong connection in partner dancing helps you sense signals and timing. It helps you make smooth transitions between leading and following. On a cosmic scale, the universe is our dance partner. It offers us inspiration and infinite creative potential. In the dance we recognize the magic of synchronicity, sense the signals and timing of life, take aligned action, and find awe in every moment. 

Rocket Scientist

The rocket science piece is about exploring and expanding our vision of what's possible for ourselves and for the world. Not just the outer world, but also the inner world. People love saying, “It’s not rocket science.” Actually, it is. With no math or equations, rocket science is essentially about letting go to lift off, acknowledging progress and adjusting course, and going from where we are to where we want to be. In that light, every aspect of life itself actually IS rocket science!

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