Frederick Drew Gregory, Colonel, USAF (Ret.) is a former test pilot, NASA astronaut, and NASA Deputy Administrator. He was born and raised in Washington D.C. graduating from Anacostia High School. He attended the United States Air Force Academy where he received his undergraduate degree in Military Engineering. He earned his wings after helicopter school, flew in Vietnam, transitioned to fighter aircraft, attended the Navy Test Pilot School, and then conducted testing as an engineering test pilot for both the Air Force and NASA. He received a Master’s Degree from the George Washington University in Information Systems.
During his time in the Air Force, Gregory logged more than 7,000 hours in more than 50 types of aircraft as a helicopter, fighter and test pilot. He flew 550 combat rescue missions in Vietnam.
In 1978, Gregory applied for and was chosen as a member of the first class of Space Shuttle astronauts.
Gregory became the first American with an African lineage to pilot a space craft, the orbiter Challenger on mission STS-51B. This flight was the second flight for the laboratory developed by the European Space Agency for scientific experiments on the space shuttle. The crew also deployed the Northern Utah Satellite before landing at Edwards Air Force Base. He was then the first person ever of African lineage to command any space mission with the launch of STS-33 in 1989 on the orbiter Discovery, which carried a classified payload. He then commanded STS-44 on Atlantis which in addition to deploying a Department of Defense satellite, DPS 15, also conducted extensive studies to evaluate medical countermeasures to long duration space flight.
After he left the Astronaut Office, he assumed the roles of Associate Administrator for Safety and Mission Assurance and as the Associate Administrator for Space Flight before becoming the NASA Deputy Administrator. As the leader of the agency’s human space flight program and as the Deputy Administrator, one of his biggest goals was to have humans leave low Earth orbit on a journey in which Mars was the first step.
Fred Gregory is married to Annette and is the father and grandfather of a military family and proud of it!