Boeing's First Test Pilot Astronaut

August 03, 2018 in Space

Chris Ferguson, who led the final mission of America’s space shuttle program, will return to the International Space Station as a commercial test pilot of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. He will be joined by NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Mann.

The three pioneers will help restore American access to space from U.S. soil, a capability that ended when the shuttle was retired seven years ago.

Ferguson has been an integral part of the Starliner program since retiring from NASA and joining Boeing in 2011. He spent more than 40 days in space for NASA during three shuttle missions.

"The engineer in me always thought if I'm not flying a spaceship, I ought to be part of the team building one," Ferguson said. "My fingerprints are all over the Starliner and I'm thrilled to get the chance to go back to space on a vehicle that I helped design from the ground up. Riding along with me are all of the members of the Boeing team who have put their hearts and souls into this spacecraft."

Starliner is being developed in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a partnership between NASA and the aerospace industry.  The spacecraft is designed to transport passengers and cargo to and from low-Earth orbit.

NASA Astronaut Eric Boe, Boeing Commericial Test Astronaut Chris Ferguson and NASA Astronaut Nicole Mann