Astronaut Biography: Rick Sturckow
NASA astronaut Rick Sturckow poses for an official portrait.
Credit: NASA.

NAME: Frederick W. "Rick" Sturckow (Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps).
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA: Born August 11, 1961, in La Mesa, California but considers Lakeside, California to be his hometown. Married to the former Michele A. Street of Great Mills, Maryland. He enjoys flying and physical training (PT). His father, Karl H. Sturckow, resides in Lakeside and his mother, Janette R. Sturckow, resides in La Mesa.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Grossmont High School, La Mesa, California, in 1978. Bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from California Polytechnic State University, 1984.

ORGANIZATIONS: Marine Corps Association (MCA). Former member of Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP).

SPECIAL HONORS: Defense Superior Service Medal, Single Mission Air Medal with Combat "V", Strike/Flight Air Medals (4), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, NASA Space Flight Medals (2).

EXPERIENCE: Sturckow was commissioned in December, 1984. An Honor Graduate of The Basic School, he earned his wings in April, 1987. Following initial F/A-18 training at VFA-125, he reported to VMFA-333, MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina.

While assigned to VMFA-333 he made an overseas deployment to Japan, Korea, and the Philippines and was then selected to attend the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) in March, 1990. In August of 1990 he deployed to Sheik Isa Air Base, Bahrain for a period of eight months. Sturckow flew a total of forty-one combat missions during Operation Desert Storm.

In January, 1992 he attended the United States Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California. In 1993 he reported to the Naval Air Warfare Center- Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland for duty as the F/A-18 E/F Project Pilot. Sturckow also flew a wide variety of projects and classified programs as an F/A-18 test pilot.

He has logged over 4,790 flight hours and has flown over 50 different aircraft.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in December 1994, Sturckow reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995. He completed a year of training and evaluation and was assigned to work technical issues for the Vehicle Systems and Operations Branch of the Astronaut Office.

He currently serves as Deputy for the Shuttle Operations Branch of the Astronaut Office, and also serves as Lead for KSC Operations Support. Sturckow has flown twice and has logged over 568 hours in space. He served as pilot on STS-88 in 1998 (the first International Space Station assembly mission), and most recently on STS-105 (2001). Sturckow is assigned as Crew Commander of STS-117 and is currently serving as the Chief of the Astronaut Office Capcom Branch.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-88 Endeavour (December 4-15, 1998) was the first International Space Station assembly mission. During the 12-day mission, Unity, the U.S. built node, was mated with Zarya, the Russian built Functional Cargo Block (FGB).

Two crew members performed three space walks to connect umbilicals and attach tools/hardware in the assembly and outfitting of the station. Additionally, the crew performed the initial activation and first ingress of the International Space Station preparing it for future assembly missions and full time occupation. The crew also performed IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC) operations, and deployed two satellites, Mighty Sat 1 built by the USAF Phillips Laboratory and SAC-A the first successful launch of an Argentine satellite. The mission was accomplished in 185 orbits of the Earth in 283 hours and 18 minutes.

STS-105 Discovery (Aug 10-22, 2001) was the 11th mission to the International Space Station. While at the orbital outpost, the STS-105 crew delivered the Expedition-3 crew, attached the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, and transferred over 2.7 metric tons of supplies and equipment to the station. During the mission, two spacewalks were performed by two crewmembers. They also brought home the Expedition-2 crew. The STS-105 mission was accomplished in 186 orbits of the Earth, traveling over 4.9 million miles in 285 hours and 13 minutes.

Last updated: February 2006

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