Chris Ferguson, mechanical engineering ’84, is one of three astronauts elected to the 2022 class of the U. S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
After graduating from Drexel, Ferguson received his commission from the US Navy ROTC in 1984 and his Navy wings in 1986. He served as an F-14 Tomcat pilot before completing training in the Navy Fighter Weapons School, popularly known as “TOPGUN,” in 1991. He then served as a TOPGUN instructor. He was later selected for the United States Naval Test Pilot School program and served as an instructor there before being deployed to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf on board the USS Nimitz.
Ferguson was selected for the space program and completed astronaut training in 1998. With NASA, he flew three missions to the International Space Station (ISS). He piloted the space shuttle Atlantis in 2006, was commander on Endeavor’s flight to the ISS in 2008 and commanded the final shuttle flight to the ISS on Atlantis in 2011. He also served as CAPCOM, the primary communicator between the shuttle and mission command, for three missions.
After retiring from NASA in 2011, Ferguson joined Boeing, where he has been instrumental in the development of the Starliner Capsule, a class of reusable spacecraft designed to take humans to low-earth orbit. Working together with NASA, Boeing launched an unmanned test of the Starliner capsule in December 2019 and hope to send a second test to the ISS sometime in 2022. Ferguson was selected for the crew of the first manned voyage of the Starliner, but has since stepped down from the mission to spend time with family.
In addition to his degree from Drexel, Ferguson also holds a Master of Science in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He received an honorary degree from Drexel in 2009, the same year he was named the College of Engineering’s Engineering Leader of the Year and was presented with the Silver Dragon Award. He has won numerous service awards including the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Navy Strike/Flight Air Medal, NASA Spaceflight Medal (three), the Navy Commendation Medal (three) and the Navy Achievement Medal.
Ferguson will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Kennedy Space Center in June 2022.
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