Astronaut Biography: Chris J. Ferguson
NASA astronaut and shuttle pilot Chris Ferguson poses for a preflight portrait.
Credit: NASA/JSC.

NAME: Christopher J. Ferguson (Captain, U.S. Navy)
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA: Born September 1, 1961 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Married to the former Sandra A. Cabot. They have three children. Recreational interests include golf, woodworking, running, and he plays drums for Max Q, a rock and roll band. His mother, Mary Ann Pietras and stepfather, Norman Pietras, reside in Langhorn, Pennsylvania. Sandra's mother, Trudy, resides in Norristown, PA.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Archbishop Ryan High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1979; received a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University, 1984 and a master of science in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School, 1991.

ORGANIZATIONS: Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

AWARDS: Navy Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (3), Navy Achievement Medal, and various other service awards/citations.

EXPERIENCE: Ferguson was commissioned from the NROTC program after completion of a 5-year cooperative education curriculum at Drexel University.

He was temporarily assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland prior to commencing flight school in Pensacola, Florida in November 1984. Following flight training in Florida and Texas, he received his Navy wings and was ordered to the F-14 replacement training squadron in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where, after a nine month period of instruction, he joined the 'Red Rippers' of VF-11.

With VF-11 he made deployments to the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean on board the USS Forrestal (CV-59). While with VF-11 he also attended the Navy Fighter Weapon School (TOPGUN). He was selected for the Naval Postgraduate/Test Pilot School program in 1989 and graduated with class 101.

From July 1992 through June 1994 he was assigned to the Ordnance Branch of the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate at NAS Patuxent River. There he served as the project officer for the F-14D weapon separation program where he became the first to release numerous air-to-ground stores from both the A and D model of the Tomcat.

In July 1994, he was chosen to instruct at the Naval Test Pilot School which he did so until July 1995. After a brief retraining period he joined the 'Checkmates' of VF-211 where he completed a deployment to the Western Pacific/Persian Gulf aboard the Nimitz (CVN-68) in support Operation Southern Watch and contingency operations off the coast of Taiwan. He briefly served as the F-14 Class Desk Officer for the Commander Naval Air Force, Atlantic Fleet prior to his selection to the space program.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in June 1998, Ferguson reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1998.

Following the completion of two years of training and evaluation, he was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Spacecraft Systems/Operations Branch involving the Shuttle Main Engine, External Tank, Solid Rocket Boosters and Shuttle Software. Ferguson is assigned as Pilot on STS-115.

The mission is targeted to launch in 2006.

Last updated: January 2006

  • Complete Space Shuttle Mission Coverage
  • NASA's STS-115: Shuttle Atlantis to Jump Start ISS Construction