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NASA Astronaut & Commander Of SpaceX's First Human Mission Doug Hurley Retires

SpaceX's DM-2 commander Doug Hurley. Photo: NASA/SpaceX
NASA/Kim Shiflett
NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley rehearses putting on his SpaceX spacesuit at the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building Kennedy Space Center in Florida, last week.

NASA astronaut and commander of SpaceX’s first human space mission Doug Hurley is retiring.

Hurley joined the astronaut corps in 2000 and flew two space shuttle missions. He piloted both STS-127 Endeavour and served as a pilot for the last Space Shuttle mission on Atlantis.

As NASA transitioned to private companies for rides to the International Space Station, Hurley was named as the commander of SpaceX’s DM-2 mission -- a return to human spaceflight nearly a decade after Shuttle ended.

“I certainly didn't expect to fly again," said Hurley. "I certainly didn't necessarily have a plan to fly again. And if I did, it would, you know, have had to have been a case where somebody would have wanted me to.”

In his 21 years as an astronaut, Hurley spent 93 days in space. All three of his missions launch from Florida's Space Coast.

“Doug Hurley is a national hero,” said Reid Weisman, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. "Doug made significant impacts everywhere he served at NASA."

During his time at NASA, he met his wife Karen Nyberg, another astronaut.

“For 21 years, I’ve had the incredible honor of participating in the American space program and working alongside the extremely dedicated people of NASA," said Hurley. “It is truly humbling when reflecting back on it all.”

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."