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Frederick Drew Gregory
Born January 7, 1941(1941-01-07) (age 78)
Place of birth Washington, D.C.
Rank Colonel, USAF

Frederick Drew Gregory (Colonel, USAF, Ret.) is a former NASA astronaut and former NASA Deputy Administrator. He also served briefly as NASA Acting Administrator in early 2005, covering the period between the departure of Sean O'Keefe and the swearing in of Michael Griffin.

Personal dataEdit

Gregory was born on January 7, 1941, in Washington, D.C.. His father was Francis A. Gregory, an educator who was assistant superintendent for DC Public Schools as well as the first black president of the DC Public Library Board of Trustees. His father has a public library named after him in the Ward 7 Hillcrest neighborhood of Washington, DC. His mother was Nora Drew Gregory, a lifelong educator as well as public library advocate. She was also the sister of noted African-American doctor and researcher Dr. Charles Drew. Married to the former Barbara Archer of Washington, D.C. until her death in 2008. They had two grown children. Frederick, D., Jr., a government official working in the office of the Joint Chief of Staff (DOD), and a graduate of Stanford University. Heather Lynn is a social worker and graduate of Sweet Briar College. He is now married to the former Annette Becke of Washington, D.C. Recreational interests include reading, boating, hiking,diving, biking and traveling.


  • 1958: Graduated from Anacostia High School, Washington, D.C.
  • 1964: Received a bachelor of science degree from the United States Air Force Academy
  • 1977: Received a master’s degree in information systems from George Washington University


Special honorsEdit


NASA experienceEdit

Astronaut candidates Ronald McNair, Guion Bluford, and Frederick Gregory

Astronaut candidates Ronald McNair, Guion Bluford, and Frederick Gregory

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 about 456 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), and was Associate Administrator for the Office of Space Flight (2001–2002). On August 12, 2002 Mr. Gregory was sworn in as NASA Deputy Administrator. From the departure of Sean O'Keefe on February 20, 2005, to the swearing in of Michael D. Griffin on April 14, 2005, he was the NASA Acting Administrator. He returned to the post of Deputy Administrator and on September 9, 2005, submitted his resignation. He was replaced on November 29, 2005 by Shana Dale.

Space flight experienceEdit

STS-51B/Spacelab-3 launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 29, 1985 with Gregory serving as pilot. The crew aboard the Orbiter Challenger included spacecraft commander, Robert Overmyer; mission specialists, Norman Thagard, William E. Thornton, and Don Lind; and payload specialists, Taylor Wang and Lodewijk van den Berg. 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 Air Force Base, California, on May 6, 1985. Mission duration was 168 hours, 8 minutes, 47seconds.

When STS-33 launched at night, from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 22, 1989, Gregory became the first African-American to command a space flight.[1] 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.


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