British born astronaut Nicholas Patrick has left NASA to join private spaceflight company Blue Origin. Patrick, veteran of space shuttle flights STS-116 and STS-130, is one of only five recipients of the BIS’s UK-born astronaut silver pin award for orbital spaceflight , writes Nick Spall.
Nicholas Patrick joined NASA in 1998 and during his two spaceflight missions assisted with the construction of the International Space Station, carrying out three spacewalks and logging 26 days in space. As well as undertaking 2,300 hours of flying and instructing in over 26 types of fixed-wing and helicopers, the 48 year old Yorkshireman is also an experienced ‘aquanaut’, having been one of the NASA crew on NEEMO 6 and commander of NEEMO 13 underwater training missions.
Joining Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin , with its innovative ‘New Shepard’ suborbital vertical take-off and landing spacecraft currently under development , Patrick acts as the human integration architect.
He follows in the footsteps of several other ex-NASA astronauts recently joining the emerging privately-led spaceflight companies – these include Christopher Ferguson who works with Boeing, Mark Kelly who has teamed with Elon Musks’s Space-X and Steve Lindsey who works on the winged lifting-body Dreamchaser spacecraft for the Sierra Nevada Corporation.Ken Bowersox spent some time with Space-X as VP for flight safety, leaving in December 2011
The Editor (Spaceflight)