Three-time space NASA astronaut Mark Polansky has left the space agency – his final day with NASA was on June 30 – the same last day as fellow astronaut Stephen Robinson who announced his retirement a short time ago. Polansky flew as the pilot on STS-98 and as commander on STS-116 and STS-127. His missions took place on 2001, 2006 and 2009 respectively. At the conclusion of his career Polansky has spent more than 41 days in space.
“Mark is a remarkably talented individual,” said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office. “His skills as an aviator coupled with his engineering expertise were a valuable contribution to our team. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Polansky started his time with NASA as a research pilot back in 1992 before being selected as an astronaut in 1996. U.S. Air Force officer, Polansky joined NASA as a research pilot in 1992 and was selected for the astronaut corps in 1996.
Before he took his first trip into the inky-black of space he served as all astronauts are required to do as a space shuttle capsule communicator or “CAPCOM” as it is commonly known. Polansky’s most recent assignment was serving as director of operations at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.
Polansky has not yet stated what he intends to do in his post-NASA life. Many of his counterparts who have left NASA recently have departed the space agency for careers in either the private sector or in academia.
For Polansky’s biography: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/polansky.html