HOUSTON - Veteran International Space Station astronaut and space shuttle flyer Ed Lu has left NASA to accept a position in the private sector. Lu flew on two shuttle missions and lived six months aboard the station as a member of the orbiting laboratory's seventh crew.
"Ed has done an exceptional job as an astronaut during his twelve years of service," said Chief of the Astronaut Office Steve Lindsey. "He contributed greatly to the construction and operations on the International Space Station, particularly in the very difficult period after the Columbia tragedy. Additionally, his involvement in development of the Crew Exploration Vehicle will help NASA tremendously as we look forward to exploring our solar system. He will be missed by the Astronaut Office and NASA. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors."
Lu's experience includes more than six hours spacewalking. He was the first American to launch as flight engineer of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft as well as the first American to both launch and land on a Soyuz. He has visited two space stations on his missions.
Selected as an astronaut in 1994, Lu first flew in May 1997 aboard Atlantis for the STS-84 mission, the sixth shuttle mission to visit the Russian space station Mir. He next flew in 2000 on mission STS-106, also aboard Atlantis, performing a spacewalk during that flight to help outfit the Zvezda module of the International Space Station, the outpost's living quarters. Launching on the Soyuz, Lu returned to the International Space Station in 2003 as flight engineer and NASA science officer of Expedition 7, the first two-person resident crew.