HOUSTON -- NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Kelly has announced his plans to retire from the agency on Oct. 1. He is a veteran of four space shuttle missions.
"We salute Commander Mark Kelly and his contributions to NASA as an extremely accomplished member of the astronaut corps and the final commander of the space shuttle Endeavour," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "We deeply respect his achievements and his decision to focus on his family. We continue to send out our thoughts and prayers to Mark and his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, as she makes a remarkable recovery. We know that Mark will continue to do great things for his country no matter what he chooses to do next. He has helped us build a space program poised to take advantage of the many opportunities in our bright future."
Kelly announced his retirement Tuesday on Facebook and via his Twitter account. On Facebook, he wrote, "This was not an easy decision. Public service has been more than a job for me and for my family." He added, "I know that as our space program evolves, there are those who will question NASA's future. I am not among them. There isn't a group more dedicated to its mission or more capable than the outstanding men and women of NASA."
Kelly commanded the STS-134 flight in May and STS-124 in 2008. He served as the pilot on STS-121 in 2006 and STS-108 in 2001. He joined NASA as an astronaut candidate in 1996.
For Kelly's complete biography, visit: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/kellyme.html
To follow Kelly on Twitter and Facebook, visit: http://www.twitter.com/ShuttleCDRKelly and http://www.facebook.com/Capt.MarkKelly