Christopher Ferguson Biography

Astronaut (1961–)
Christopher Ferguson became famous when NASA selected him to fly aboard Atlantis on the last ever space shuttle launch.


Born in Philadelphia, Christopher Ferguson excelled in school from an early age. He developed an interest in flying, and joined the Navy. After climbing the ranks of the Naval Air Force, Ferguson trained as an astronaut with the space program at NASA. On July 8, 2011, he flew aboard Atlantis on NASA's last ever space shuttle launch, to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Ferguson later retired from NASA on December 9, 2011.

Early Life

Astronaut Christopher Ferguson was born on September 1, 1961, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ferguson grew up in Philadelphia, and had a fairly typical early childhood. He attended the private, Catholic St. Martha's Grade School for eight years, and he spent his free time going to Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies games with his father, who was an avid sports fan. While Ferguson was still rather young, his father passed away. "I really cherish those years," Ferguson said about the time spent with his father.

Ferguson went to Archbishop Ryan High School, a parochial high school in Philadelphia, where he excelled in math and science. After graduation, Ferguson attended Drexel University on a U.S. Navy ROTC scholarship, where he studied mechanical engineering. While at Drexel, he also developed an interest in flying, and entered flight school after his graduation and commission into the Navy in 1984.

Space Career

Two years later, Ferguson earned his wings, touring in F-14 Tomcats for the Navy at Virginia Beach, Virginia. After a brief period of instruction, he signed on to the "Red Rippers" of VF-11, and was deployed to the USS Forrestal. While aboard the Forrestal, Ferguson toured the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian oceans, and attended the Navy Fighter Weapon School (TOPGUN).

He was then selected for the Naval Postgraduate/Test Pilot School program in 1989. Through June 1994, he served as the F-14D weapons separation project officer. A year later, he joined the "Checkmates" of VF-211, and was deployed to the Persian Gulf aboard the USS Nimitz Iraqi no-fly zone. He then served as the logistics officer for the Atlantic Fleet.

While he flew planes for the military he also managed to complete post-graduate work, earning a master of science in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1991. It was during this time, while serving as a logistics officer for the commander of the Naval Air Force's Atlantic Fleet, that he discovered NASA selected him to train with the space program.

Ferguson reported to Johnson Space Center in August 1998, where he completed two years of training. He then served as spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) for the STS-118, 120, 128 and 129 missions. He has logged more than 28 days in space and, from November 2009 to September 2010, he served as deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.

In 2011, he came to national notoriety when it was announced that NASA had selected him to command their last ever shuttle launch. The shuttle, Atlantis, is scheduled to carry four astronauts to the International Space Station to deliver supplies and spare parts. The shuttle launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 8, and will lasted 12 days. In December of the same year, Ferguson announced his retirement from NASA.

Personal Life

Ferguson is married to Sandra A. Cabot. The couple has three children. Ferguson's interests include golf, woodworking and drumming for the rock band Max Q.

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