Nicole Cloutier-LemastersJohnson Space Center, Houston
HOUSTON -- Astronaut Chris Ferguson, the last commander of a space shuttle mission, has announced his plans to retire from NASA on Dec. 9. He will leave for a new job in the private sector.
"Chris has been a true leader at NASA," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said, "not just as a commander of the space shuttle, but also as an exemplary civil servant, a distinguished Navy officer and a good friend. I am confident he will succeed in his next career as he brings his skill and talents to new endeavors."
Ferguson, a retired U.S. Navy captain, served as the commander for STS-135, the final flight of space shuttle Atlantis and the 135th and final mission of America's 30-year Space Shuttle Program.
Atlantis' flight was Ferguson's third trip to space. During the 13-day mission, he and his crew delivered approximately 10,000 pounds of supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station. Before his assignment to STS-135, Ferguson served as deputy chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
"Chris has been a great friend, a tremendous professional and an invaluable asset to the NASA team and the astronaut office," said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office. "His exceptional leadership helped ensure a perfect final flight of the space shuttle, a fitting tribute to the thousands who made the program possible."
Ferguson first flew in space as the pilot of Atlantis on STS-115 in 2006, during which the P3/P4 truss segments were delivered to the station. He next flew as commander of Endeavour on STS-126 in 2008. During the mission, Ferguson and his crew delivered water recycling and habitation hardware to the station and exchanged station crew members. In total, Ferguson logged more than 40 days in space.
Ferguson joined the astronaut corps in 1998. After completing his initial training, he performed technical duties related to the shuttle's main engines, external tank, solid rocket boosters and flight software. He also served as a spacecraft communicator in mission control for four shuttle missions.
For Ferguson's complete biography, visit http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/ferguson.html.
- end -