|Christopher J. Ferguson|
September 1, 1961 |
|Other occupation||Test pilot|
|Time in space||40d 10h 03m|
|Selection||1998 NASA Group|
|Missions||STS-115, STS-126, STS-135|
Christopher J. Ferguson (born September 1, 1961) is a retired United States Navy Captain and NASA astronaut. He was the pilot of Space Shuttle Atlantis on his first mission to space, STS-115, which launched on September 9, 2006 and returned to Earth on September 21, 2006. He then commanded STS-126 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour.
On December 9, 2011, he retired from NASA for a new job in the private sector.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, He attended Archbishop Ryan High School, Ferguson received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University in 1984, and earned his Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1991.
Ferguson was commissioned from the Navy ROTC program at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Naval Aviator wings in NAS Kingsville, Texas in 1986 and was ordered to the F-14 Tomcat training squadron in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After a brief period of instruction, he joined the ‘Red Rippers’ of VF-11 deploying to the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean on board the USS Forrestal (CV-59). While with VF-11, he also attended the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN). He was selected for the United States Naval Test Pilot School program in 1989 and graduated in 1992.
Through June 1994 he was assigned to the Weapons Branch of the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland where he served as the project officer for the F-14D weapon separation program, becoming the first pilot to release several types of air-to-ground weapons from the Tomcat. He served one year as an instructor at the Naval Test Pilot School before joining the ‘Checkmates’ of VF-211 in 1995 and completing a deployment to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf in defense of the Iraqi no-fly zone on board the USS Nimitz. He briefly served as an F-14 logistics officer for the Atlantic Fleet prior to his selection to the space program.
Ferguson served as CAPCOM for the STS-118 mission, and told the crew of Endeavour "Welcome home. You've given a new meaning to higher education," as they touched down safely. He also served as CAPCOM for the STS-128 and STS-129 missions.
Ferguson retired from NASA on December 9, 2011.
Ferguson with Elmo
Ferguson, who is of Scottish and Polish descent, is married to Sandra and has three children. When he was in space for his wedding anniversary, NASA played the Frankie Valli song "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" as the wake-up music that morning, after which Ferguson wished his wife a happy anniversary. MP3
- JSC To Support Training, Early Flight Ops For Boeing CST-100 on Aviation Week.com Retrieved on April 30, 2012.
- Christopher J. Ferguson (CAPTAIN, USN) NASA Astronaut on Poles.org Retrieved on May 9, 2010.
- Audio interview with Captain, USN Christopher Ferguson
- NASA biography
- Spacefacts biography of Christopher Ferguson