Christopher Ferguson, commander of the last spacecraft and now Boeing executive, has resigned as commander of the company’s first pilot test flight.The commercial spacecraft, he and Boeing announced on Wednesday. He was replaced by NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Willmore.
“I’m taking on a new mission, with my feet firmly on the ground here and giving priority to my most important employees – my family,” Ferguson tweeted. “I will still work hard with the #StarLiner team and the ASNASA_Astronauts on our crew.”
In a video attached to the tweet, Ferguson, a 59-year-old father of three, described his decision to resign as “difficult and personal”.
“I’m extremely committed to human space travel, I’m dedicated to the Starliner program, and I’m very passionate about the team that built her,” he said. “But this year is very important for my family. I have a lot of commitments.
“I’m not going anywhere. I’m not going into space next year. The Boeing team understands a lot, the crew works wonderfully, and thank you for your understanding.”
This is the second crew change of the mission after Ferguson and astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Mann.In August 2018. Next January due to an unexplained medical problem. He was replaced by astronaut Michael FinnK.
While no longer flying, Ferguson, a former Navy F-14 carrier pilot, Topgun graduate and test pilot instructor, will play a key role in the development of Starliner, as well as Boeing’s Director of Mission Integration and Operations Crew Systems.
“My personal thanks to Chris for his leadership,” said Leon Carrett, President and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “He brings his family to the forefront, which Boeing fully supports. He will continue to play an active role in the Starliner program and bring the depth of experience of human spaceflight to the program.”
Ferguson left the crew during the Boeing brawl.Deer, a Marine Corps F / A-18 fighter pilot and rookie astronaut from the Starliner capsule last December, remains the only crew member on the crew flight test or CFT mission.
Following the December flight, Boeing managers decided to launch a launchTo check the performance of required software upgrades and other changes later this year or early next year. Two years later than expected when the initial crew assignments were announced, the first Starliner flight to be piloted reached the 2021 summer deadline.
Meanwhile, SpaceXFour astronauts arrive at the International Space Station on October 31 following the successful test flight of the crew dragon capsule. Ferguson’s co – pilot astronauts Robert Benkane and Douglas Hurley on the final shuttle mission.
Ferguson retired from NASA in July 2011 and went to work for Boeing, helping the company develop the StarLiner commercial crew ship. In August 2018, without surprising anyone, he was selected for Starliner’s first piloted mission.
“I have full confidence in the StarLineer vehicle, its builder and test, and ultimately the NASA astronauts who fly it,” Ferguson said in a Boeing statement.
“The Boeing team learned all the lessons from our first Uncrowded Orbital Flight Test, making StarLiner one of the safest new Croyd spacecraft ever to be fielded. I’m here to prove it to Butch, Nicole and Mike.”
Winmore thanks Ferguson for his extraordinary leadership and insight into this highly sophisticated and capable vehicle.
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