Press Release

Astronaut Frank Culbertson Departs NASA

By SpaceRef Editor
August 30, 2002
Filed under ,

Astronaut Frank L. Culbertson Jr. (Capt., USN, Ret.) ended his NASA career,
retiring last week from the U.S. astronaut corps to pursue new opportunities
in the private sector. An International Space Station commander, space
shuttle commander and pilot, and NASA manager for the Phase I Shuttle-Mir
Program, he departed NASA on Aug. 24.

A veteran of three spaceflights totaling 144 days in space, Culbertson
returned in December 2001 from a four-month stay aboard the space station as
the commander of Expedition Three. He was the sole American off the planet
on Sept. 11 and saw the effects of the attacks on the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon.

Before space station training, Culbertson was instrumental in the successful
implementation of the Phase I program with Russia. He commanded the 1993
STS-51 shuttle mission and served as pilot for STS-38 in 1990. Before his
selection to become an astronaut, Culbertson served as a Navy pilot and test
pilot with over 6,500 hours flying time in more than 50 types of aircraft
and three types of spacecraft.

“Frank has had an incredible career as a pilot, astronaut and NASA manager,”
said Charlie Precourt, chief of the Astronaut Office. “It takes a truly
unique combination of technical and managerial skills to succeed in these
fields, and Frank can do it all. We all wish him well in his new endeavors.”

Capt. Culbertson said, “Flying in space became my childhood dream shortly
after President Kennedy gave us the challenge to go to the moon. I have had
the rare and fortunate opportunity of living this dream for 18 years and
being a small part of our country’s space history. I want to thank the
hundreds of people in NASA, Russia, and our partner nations who have helped
make that possible for me over the years. My prayers will be with them as
they continue to make history and overcome the risks that enable great
achievements. It has been an honor to work with such a talented and
courageous international team.”

For complete biographical information about Culbertson and other astronauts,
visit the NASA Astronaut Biography page at

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios.

SpaceRef staff editor.