Chris Ferguson, a veteran of three space flights and commander of the final shuttle mission, plans to retire from NASA on December 9 and take a job in the private sector, NASA announced Monday.
Ferguson is a retired US Navy captain. He joined the astronaut corps in 1998 and flew his rookie mission aboard Atlantis (STS-115) in 2006. STS-115 was an assembly mission to the International Space Station. He visited ISS twice more, most recently during the final space shuttle mission. Overall, Ferguson has logged 40 days in space.
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden says of Ferguson in a statement: "Chris has been a true leader at NASA, 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."