Last updated on September 1, 2021
NASA astronaut and former U.S. Marine Col. Doug Hurley is retiring from NASA after 21 years of service. His last day with the agency is July 16.
“Doug Hurley is an exceptional astronaut whose leadership and expertise have been invaluable to NASA’s space program,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “His impact on the agency transcends his impressive work in spaceflight, inspiring us to take on bold endeavors. I extend my deepest gratitude to Doug and wish him success in his next adventure.”
Hurley’s career highlights include 93 days in space on missions that include the final space shuttle flight and the first crewed flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Hurley was spacecraft commander on the first crewed flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon, which launched May 30, 2020, and safely returned to Earth Aug. 2, 2020. The flight was the fifth time in history that NASA astronauts have flown on a new U.S. spacecraft and marked a new era of human spaceflight, enabling crewed launches to the International Space Station from American soil on commercially built and owned spacecraft. As a space station crew member for 62 days, he and crewmate Bob Behnken contributed more than 100 hours supporting the orbiting laboratory’s scientific investigations.
“Doug Hurley is a national hero,” said Reid Weisman, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “He is a pioneer in human spaceflight who inspires the next generation. Doug made significant impacts everywhere he served at NASA. Our very best wishes for him, his family, and his future pursuits. We thank Doug for his service.”
Hurley joined NASA at Johnson in August 2000 as an astronaut candidate. On his first spaceflight, in 2009, Hurley was pilot for the STS-127 flight of space shuttle Endeavour, helping deliver and install the final two components of the International Space Station’s Japanese Experiment Module, Kibo, and its Exposed Facility and Experiment Logistics Module. He flew again in 2011, as the pilot for STS‐135, which was the 33rd flight of space shuttle Atlantis, the 37th shuttle mission to the space station, and the 135th and final mission of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program.
“Doug brought experience and leadership vital to our continued success in human spaceflight. He shared his critical learning from his missions during many years in human spaceflight to a new team,” said Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA Headquarters. “Many of us know and love him as one of the dads on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight – it’s personal to fly a member of our NASA family, and important for the team working these missions always to keep in mind he and his family is in our hands.”
Through a variety of roles, Hurley also supported NASA astronauts on Earth. Following the completion of two years of training and evaluation, he was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office, which included lead astronaut support personnel at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, for space shuttle missions STS‐107 and STS‐121. He was shuttle landing and rollout instructor, served on the Columbia Reconstruction Team at Kennedy, and worked in the Astronaut Office’s Exploration Branch in support of the Orion Program. He also was NASA’s director of operations in Russia, based at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, and assistant director for the Commercial Crew Program for the Flight Operations Directorate.
“For 21 years, I’ve had the incredible honor of participating in the American space program and working alongside the extremely dedicated people of NASA. To have had a place in the assembly of the International Space Station, and the Space Shuttle Program including flying on its final mission, STS-135, has been a tremendous privilege,” said Hurley. “To then have had the opportunity to be at the forefront of the Commercial Crew Program, specifically working with SpaceX, on to commanding the first flight of Crew Dragon, and finally, as a perfect end to my flying career, serving onboard the space station as a resident crew member.
On personal level, there were many significant life moments, too, at NASA that have had their forever impact on me. The loss of my colleagues on space shuttle Columbia. And meeting my wife here and starting our family. It is truly humbling when reflecting back on it all.”
Hurley was born in Endicott, New York, but considers Apalachin, New York, his hometown. He graduated from Owego Free Academy, in Owego, New York, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Tulane University in New Orleans.