has retired after more than 44 years of government service. A veteran of three spaceflights, Leestma served as a space shuttle mission specialist on STS-41G in 1984, STS-28 in 1989 and STS-45 in 1992.
Before joining NASA, Leestma served in the U.S. Navy as a pilot and flew missions in the Mediterranean/North Atlantic areas while assigned to the USS John F. Kennedy. He was selected to join the astronaut corps in 1980. After flying in space, Leestma held multiple technical and leadership assignments, including director of Flight Crew Operations. In his last role, Leestma led the Technical Transfer and Commercialization Efforts office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
"From the day we came together as astronaut classmates, Dave stood out as a remarkable leader, friend, and loyal teammate," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who flew with Leestma on shuttle Atlantis' STS-45 mission. "He possessed seemingly infinite wisdom of the space shuttle and all its systems and never ceased to amaze me with his performance. We wish him the best."
Leestma holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and a Master of Science degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
A retired Navy captain, Leestma has logged more than 3,500 flight hours. He ends his NASA career having logged more than 23 days in space on three shuttle missions.