Feeds

Last of the space shuttle commanders retires from NASA

Atlantis skipper hangs up his pressure suit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.