Astronaut chooses his daughter’s wedding over going to space



It was a defining moment for Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson when he chose dedication to family over a flight to the International Space Station.

Serving as the commander of Boeing’s first astronaut-led flight, Ferguson announced Wednesday that he has pulled himself off the crew so he can attend his daughter’s wedding next year. Ferguson posted a video on Twitter that revealed his decision to stay at home with family.

“I’ll be taking on a new mission, one that keeps my feet planted here firmly on Earth and prioritizes my most important crew–my family,” Ferguson tweeted.  “I’ll still be working hard with the #Starliner team and the @NASA_Astronauts on our crew.”

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Ferguson explained in the video how difficult the decision was.

“Next year is very important for my family. I have made several commitments that I simply cannot risk missing,” Ferguson said.

A Boeing spokeswoman confirmed that one of those commitments was his daughter’s wedding, according to Marcia Dunn of the Associated Press.

Ferguson will be replaced by NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore, according to Space.com’s Mike Wall.

“I’m deeply committed to human spaceflight, I’m dedicated to the Starline program and I’m passionate about the team that has built her,” Ferguson shared in his video.

As he steps aside to let Wilmore take the helm, Ferguson stated that he has confidence in the Starliner vehicle, which has been mired in setbacks.  In December 2019, Starliner failed to meet up with the ISS during its debut mission—an uncrewed flight test, according to Space.com.

“I have full confidence in the Starliner vehicle, the men and women building and testing it, and the NASA astronauts who will ultimately fly it,” Ferguson said. “The Boeing team has taken all lessons from our first uncrewed Orbital Flight Test to heart, and is making Starliner one of the safest new crewed spacecraft ever fielded. I will be here on the ground supporting Butch, Nicole, and Mike while they prove it.”

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