By Mary Alys Cherry
Three astronauts who helped build the International Space Station are retiring from NASA this summer after two decades with the space agency.
Stephen Frick, a retired Navy captain and U.S. Naval Academy graduate who flew as both a shuttle pilot and commander, left July 13 for a position in the private sector. A Pennsylvania native, he joined NASA in 1996 and spent 23 days in space while serving as pilot for STS-110 on Atlantis and as commander of STS-122, also on Atlantis.
Mike Foreman, also a retired Navy captain and U.S. Naval Academy graduate who flew on two shuttle missions, left July 31 to join a Houston-based consulting firm. The Ohio native spent 26 days in space and performed five spacewalks during the STS-123 mission on Endeavour and the STS-129 mission on Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Steven Swanson, who has a doctorate in computer science from Texas A&M and flew on three missions that included a long-duration stay on the space station, left Aug. 30 to join Boise State University in Idaho as a distinguished educator in residence. In addition to flying on STS-117 on Atlantis and STS-119 on Discovery, he spent six months as commander of the ISS in 2014.
NASA Astronaut Chief Chris Cassidy spoke highly of all three in announcing their departures.