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Frederick D. Gregory

NASA Astronaut and Former Acting NASA Administrator (Feb. 11–Apr. 14, 2005)

Fredrick D. Gregory was confirmed by the Senate on August 1, 2002 and sworn in on August 12, 2002 as NASA’s Deputy Administrator. Not only is Mr. Gregory the first person to fill the position in ten years, he is also the first African-American Deputy Administrator.

Prior to serving as Deputy Administrator, Mr. Gregory was the Associate Administrator for the Office of Space Flight. He began serving in this position, in an acting capacity, in December 2001. He was selected permanently in February 2002. He was responsible for overseeing the management of the International Space Station; Space Shuttle operations; Space Access using Expendable Launch Vehicles for commercial launch services; Space Communications; and Advanced Programs.

From June 1992 to December 2001, Mr. Gregory held the position of Associate Administrator, Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, at NASA Headquarters. As Associate Administrator, he was responsible for assuring the safety, reliability, quality, and mission assurance of all NASA programs.

Personal Data

Born January 7, 1941, in Washington, D.C. His wife, the former Barbara Archer of Washington, D.C., is deceased. They have two grown children. Frederick, D., Jr., is a Captain in the Air Force, and a graduate of Stanford University. Heather Lynn is a social worker and graduate of Sweet Briar College. Recreational
interests include water skiing, fishing, hunting, specialty cars, and stereo equipment.


Gregory graduated from Anacostia High School, Washington, D.C., in 1958; received a bachelor of science degree from the United States Air Force Academy in 1964, and a master’s degree in information systems from George Washington University in 1977.


He is a member or past member of numerous societies, including the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, American Helicopter Society, Air Force Academy Association of Graduates, the National Technical Association, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the Order of the Daedalians. He is on the Board of Directors for the Young Astronaut Council, Kaiser-Permanente, the Photonics Laboratory at Fisk University, and the Engineering College at Howard University. He is on the Board of Trustees at the Maryland Science Center, and he is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Space Explorers.

Special Honors

His honors include the Defense Superior Service Medal; the Legion of Merit; the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement; 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses; 16 Air Medals; the NASA Distinguished Service Medal; 2 NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals; National Society of Black Engineers Distinguished National Scientist Award; the George Washington University Distinguished Alumni Award; President’s Medal, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science; Honorary Doctor of Science Degrees from the College of Aeronautics and the University of the District of Columbia. He was also awarded the Air Force Association Ira Eaker Award as well as numerous civic and community honors.


After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in 1964, Gregory entered pilot training and
attended undergraduate helicopter training at Stead Air Force Base, Nevada. He received his wings in 1965 and was assigned as an H-43 helicopter rescue pilot at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, from October 1965 until May 1966. In June 1966, he was assigned as an H-43 combat rescue pilot at Danang AB, Vietnam. When he returned to the United States in July 1967, he was assigned as a missile support helicopter pilot flying the UH-1F at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. In January 1968, Gregory was retrained as a fixed wing pilot flying the T-38 at Randolph AFB, Texas. He was then assigned to the F-4 Phantom Combat Crew Training Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. Gregory attended the United States Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland, from September 1970 to June 1971. Following completion of this training, he was assigned to the 4950th Test Wing, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, as an operational test pilot flying fighters and helicopters. In June 1974, Gregory was detailed to the NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia. He served as a research test pilot at Langley until selected for the Astronaut Program in January 1978. Gregory has logged more than 6,976 hours flying time in over 50 types of aircraft—including 550 combat missions in Vietnam. He holds an FAA commercial and instrument certificate for single- and multi-engine airplanes and helicopters. He has authored or co-authored several papers in the areas of aircraft handling qualities and cockpit design.

NASA Experience

Gregory was selected as an astronaut in January 1978. His technical assignments included: Astronaut
Office representative at the Kennedy Space Center during initial Orbiter checkout and launch support for STS-1 and STS-2; Flight Data File Manager; lead spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM); Chief, Operational Safety, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; Chief, Astronaut Training; and a member of the Orbiter Configuration Control Board and the Space Shuttle Program Control Board. A veteran of three Shuttle missions he has logged over 455 hours in space. He served as pilot on STS-51B (April 29 to May 6, 1985), and was the spacecraft commander on STS-33 (November 22–27, 1989), and STS-44 (November 24 to December 1, 1991). Gregory served at NASA Headquarters as Associate Administrator for the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (1992–2001), Associate Administrator for the Office of Space Flight (2001–2002), and NASA Deputy Administrator (2002–2005). Gregory resigned from NASA in October 2005.

STS033-93-036 (22-27 Nov. 1989) — Astronaut Frederick D. Gregory, STS-33 commander, aims a 35mm camera out an aft flight deck viewing window while onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Space Flight Experience

STS-51B/Spacelab-3 launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 29, 1985. The crew aboard the Orbiter Challenger included spacecraft commander, Robert Overmyer; mission specialists, Norman Thagard,
William Thornton, and Don Lind; and payload specialists, Taylor Wang and Lodewijk Vandenberg. On this second flight of the laboratory developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), the crew conducted a broad range of scientific experiments ranging from space physics to the suitability of animal-holding facilities. The crew also deployed the Northern Utah Satellite (NUSAT). After seven days of around-the-clock scientific operations, Challenger and its laboratory cargo landed on the dry lakebed at Edwards AFB, California, on May 6, 1985. Mission duration was 168 hours, 8 minutes, 47seconds.

STS-33 launched at night, from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 22, 1989. On board the Orbiter Discovery, Gregory’s crew included the pilot, John Blaha, and three mission specialists, Manley (Sonny) Carter, Story Musgrave, and Kathryn Thornton. The mission carried Department of Defense payloads and other secondary payloads. After 79 orbits of the Earth, this five-day mission concluded on November 27, 1989, with a hard surface landing on Runway 04 at Edwards AFB, California. Mission duration was 120 hours, 7 minutes, 32 seconds.

STS-44 launched at night from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 24, 1991. During 110 orbits of the Earth, the crew successfully deployed their prime payload, the Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite. They worked on a variety of secondary payloads ranging from the Military Man in Space experiment designed to evaluate the ability of a space borne observer to gather information about ground troops, equipment and facilities, and also participated in extensive studies evaluating medical countermeasures to long duration space flight. The crew aboard the Orbiter Atlantis included the pilot Tom Henricks; three mission specialists, Story Musgrave, Jim Voss, and Mario Runco Jr.; and payload specialist Tom Hennen. The mission concluded on December 1, 1991, with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Mission duration was 166 hours, 50 minutes, 42 seconds.