NASA's Frederick D. Gregory
, who spent 31 years at the agency as a research test pilot, astronaut and senior leader, announced his resignation as deputy administrator today. Gregory will stay in his role until a successor is confirmed by the Senate.
"Fred and I have been friends and colleagues in this business for 15 years. There is no finer human being in this agency, and no one who has put his life on the line for his country more so than Fred," said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. "He is the best of the best, and we have been fortunate to have his steady hand at NASA's helm during the most troubled period in NASA's history. We will miss him, and I will miss him."
In his letter to the President, Gregory highlighted with "great pride" the many successes of NASA during his tenure, including: the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Cassini-Huygens Saturn mission, Deep Impact, the X-43 scramjet-powered research vehicles, Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes and the five continuous years of human occupancy on the International Space Station.
"Each day that I have spent at NASA has resulted in an unmatched level of excitement," Gregory said. "I have been ever humbled by the support that our nation has provided for our journeys, the influence on the next generation, and the great respect and admiration demonstrated by our international friends."
In 2002, Gregory was nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate as deputy administrator. In this capacity, he served as the chief operating officer for the agency. He was responsible for directing and managing many of the programs, day-to-day operations and activities at NASA. Prior to becoming the deputy administrator, Gregory served as the associate administrator for space flight from December 2001 to August 2002. From June 1992 to December 2001, he was the associate administrator, Office of Safety and Mission Assurance.
Gregory was selected as an astronaut in January 1978. He has logged 455 hours in space: as pilot for the Challenger (STS-51B) in 1985; as commander aboard Discovery (STS-33) in 1989; and as commander aboard Atlantis (STS-44) in 1991.
Gregory retired as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force in December 1993 after logging 7,000 hours in more than 50 types of aircraft, including 550 combat missions in Vietnam. His 30-year Air Force career included serving as a helicopter pilot and as a fighter pilot. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and served as an engineering test pilot for the Air Force and for NASA.
Gregory holds a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master's degree in information systems from George Washington University. 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, the Order of the Daedalians, and the Association of Space Explorers.
He was a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executives for 2003. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Superior Service Medal, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 16 Air Medals, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal; NASA, three Space Flight Medals, two Outstanding Leadership Medals and Distinguished Service Medal.
His other awards include the US Air Force Academy Distinguished Graduate Award, the National Intelligence Medal, the National Society of Black Engineers Distinguished National Scientist Award, the George Washington University Distinguished Alumni Award, the President's Medal, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, honorary doctorates from the College of Aeronautics, the University of the District of Columbia and Southwestern University.
In 2004 and 2005, he was designated one of the 50 Most Important Blacks in Technology. He also was awarded the Air Force Association Ira Eaker Award, as well as numerous civic and community honors.