Feeds

Last of the space shuttle commanders retires from NASA

Atlantis skipper hangs up his pressure suit

High performance access to file storage

The last astronaut to command a space shuttle mission is retiring from NASA at the age of 50, after 13 years at the agency.

Chris Ferguson, who likes to play drums for rock and roll astronaut band Max Q* in his spare time, was in at the end of the space shuttle era when he captained the final voyage of Atlantis, the 135th mission of America's 30-year manned spaceplane programme.

Ferguson, a retired US Navy captain, joined the astronaut corps in 1998 and after two years of training, spent six years on technical duties and as a spacecraft communicator.

He first flew into space in 2006 as the pilot on the STS-115 mission (also aboard shuttle Atlantis) which was responsible for restarting the assembly of the International Space Staiton (ISS).

He then commanded the STS-126 Endeavour mission in 2008, a so-called 'home improvement' mission to deliver a water recycling system, two sleeping quarters, a kitchen and exercise equipment, among other things, to the ISS.

Finally, he was the commander of STS-135/ULF7 Atlantis in July 2011, delivering supplies and spare parts for the space station.

Altogether, he spent more than 40 days in space.

"Chris has been a great friend, a tremendous professional and an invaluable asset to the NASA team and the astronaut office," Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office, said in a statement.

"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 is leaving the space agency for a job in the private sector, NASA said. ®

Bootnote

*Max Q is an astronaut band that was started in 1987 by Robert Gibson, George Nelson and Brewster Shaw. The band is named after the engineering term for the maximum dynamic pressure from the atmosphere experienced by ascending spacecraft.

The rotating membership, based on whether or not any of them are training, or are actually in space, also includes Dan Burbank, commander of the current mission on the ISS, Expedition 30.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.