Gregory C. Johnson

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This article is about the astronaut. For the comedic character, see Ray J. Johnson.
This article is about Gregory C. Johnson. For information about another astronaut with a similar name, see Gregory H. Johnson.
Gregory C. Johnson
Gregory Carl Johnson.jpg
NASA Astronaut
Nationality American
Status Retired
Born (1954-07-30) July 30, 1954 (age 60)
Seattle, Washington
Other occupation
Rank Captain, USNR
Time in space
12 days, 21 hours, 38 minutes, 19 seconds
Selection 1998 NASA Group
Missions STS-125
Mission insignia
STS-125 patch.svg

Gregory Carl "Ray J" Johnson (born July 30, 1954, in Seattle, Washington), is a NASA astronaut and a retired captain in the United States Navy who spent his military career in both the Regular United States Navy and the Navy Reserve. He was the pilot on Space Shuttle mission STS-125, the final Hubble servicing mission.


Johnson holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Washington that he earned in 1977. While in college, he also earned his civilian commercial pilot certificate with multiengine land plane and single engine seaplane ratings.

Johnson enjoys athletics and has two grown sons from a previous marriage, Scott Johnson and Kent Johnson. He is currently married to the former Nanette Faget, who has three children.[1]

Military career[edit]

Johnson received his commission as an ensign in the United States Navy Reserve through Aviation Officer Candidate School at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida in September 1977, and received his naval aviator wings via the Strike Jet training pipeline in December 1978. Upon completion of flight training, he was designated as a Selectively Retained Graduate (SERGRAD) and spent 1979 and part of 1980 as an instructor pilot in the TA-4J Skyhawk II aircraft.

In 1980, then Lieutenant, junior grade Johnson transferred to Attack Squadron 128 (VA-128), the A-6 Intruder Fleet Replacement Squadron at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington and transitioned to the A-6E Intruder attack bomber. Upon completion of the syllabus at VA-128, he was assigned to Attack Squadron 52 (VA-52), completing two 2 deployments in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). During this time, he was promoted to lieutenant and selected for augmentation of his commission to the Regular Navy.

In 1984, Johnson reported to the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. After graduation, he reported to Naval Weapons Center China Lake, California, performing flight tests in the A-6E Intruder and F/A-18A Hornet aircraft. Following his flight test tour, then-Lieutenant Commander Johnson returned to NAS Whidbey Island for his department head tour in an operational A-6 squadron. Following refresher training and an instructor tour at VA-128, he reported to Attack Squadron 196 (VA-196), serving as both an A-6 pilot/mission commander and the squadron's Aircraft Maintenance Department Head. During this tour he completed another Western Pacific and Indian Ocean deployment as well as a Northern Pacific deployment.

Johnson resigned his Regular Navy commission in 1990 and transferred back to the Naval Reserve while accepting a concurrent civil service position with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) Aircraft Operations Division at Ellington Field, Texas. In his concurrent military capacity from 1990–2007, he was promoted to commander and later to captain in the Naval Reserve and was the commanding officer of four Naval Reserve units. He also served as a senior research officer in a science and technology unit of the Office of Naval Research based at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He has logged over 9,000 flight hours in 50 aircraft types and has accumulated over 500 carrier landings. He retired from the U.S. Navy with over 30 years of service effective October 1, 2007.[2]

NASA career[edit]

In April 1990, Johnson was accepted as an aerospace engineer and research pilot at the NASA JSC Aircraft Operations Division, Ellington Field, Texas. He qualified as a T-38 Talon instructor pilot, functional check flight and examiner pilot, as well as Gulfstream I aircraft commander, WB-57F Canberra high altitude research pilot and KC-135 co-pilot. Additionally, he conducted flight test programs in the T-38 aircraft including JET-A airstart testing, T-38N avionics upgrade testing and the first flight of the T-38 inlet redesign aircraft. In 1994 he assumed duties as the Chief, Maintenance & Engineering Branch responsible for all maintenance and engineering modifications on NASA JSC’s 44 aircraft.

Selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate in June 1998, he reported for training in August 1998. Johnson was the class leader for the seventeenth group of astronauts, with 31 U.S. and international members. Johnson was initially assigned as an Astronaut Support Personnel (ASP) responsible for configuring the Orbiter switches prior to launch and strapping astronauts in their seats for launch. More recently he served as the astronaut office representative for all technical aspects of orbiter landing and roll out issues. From June 2004 to November 2005, Johnson served as Manager, Launch Integration, for the Space Shuttle Program at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.[3] He also served as the astronaut office Deputy, Shuttle Branch and Return to Flight Representative.

Johnson was the pilot on STS-125, the final Space Shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. The mission extended and improved the observatory’s capabilities through at least 2013.

Johnson graduated with fellow astronaut Gregory H. Johnson, in the 1998 NASA Group. Gregory H. served as ascent/reentry CAPCOM on mission STS-125, while Gregory C. piloted STS-125 on Atlantis. They are not related and can be distinguished by their call signs. Gregory H. Johnson is known as "Box", while Gregory C. Johnson is known as "Ray J".[4]


Society of Experimental Test Pilots' American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Tau Beta Pi Honorary Engineering Society, Naval Reserve Association, Tailhook Association

Awards and honors[edit]

NASA James A. Korkowski Excellence in Achievement Award, VA-128 Attack Pilot of the Year, Carrier Air Wing Fifteen (CVW-15) Top Ten Tailhook Pilot, Carrier Air Wing Fourteen (CVW-14) Top Ten Tailhook Pilot, Meritorious Service Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and numerous other awards and decorations.[5]

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

External links[edit]