Patrick Forrester is a NASA astronaut and a retired United States Army officer. He was born Patrick Graham Forrester on March 31, 1957 in El Paso, Texas. He is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and attended West Springfield High School in Springfield, Virginia, where he graduated in 1975. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in applied sciences and engineering from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York in 1979. After his graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and immediately reported to the U.S. Army Aviation School. A year later he was named an Army Aviator and assigned as an instructor pilot at the Aviation School. In 1984, he was assigned to serve as a platoon leader, aviation company operations officer, and a helicopter operations officer the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. In 1989, after earning a Master of Science degree at the University of Virginia, he began work as a flight test engineer and researcher with the Army Aviation Engineering Flight Activity at Edwards Air Force Base. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in 1992 and was subsequently assigned as an engineering test pilot at the U.S. Army Aviation Technical Test Center in Fort Rucker, Alabama.
In July 1993, Forrester reported to the Johnson Space Center to work as a NASA aerospace engineer. There his assignments varied to include the following: Astronaut Office representative for Landing matters, Multi-function Electronic Display System upgrades, flight software testing with SAIL, and Portable In-flight Landing Operations Trainer. He was chosen to be a NASA astronaut candidate in May 1996. After two years of training, he became a qualified mission specialist. His first flight to space was aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 2001. STS-105 launched on August 10, 2001 as the 11th mission to the International Space Station. The crew docked with the orbital outpost to deliver the Expedition 3 crew and bring home to Expedition 2 crew. They also attached the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module and transferred tons of equipment to the station. Forrester carried out two spacewalks totaling almost twelve hours of EVA time before the mission landed on August 22, 2001.
Six years after his first spaceflight, Forrester returned to space on STS-117 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis. The mission launched on June 8, 2007 as the 21st mission to the ISS. The crew delivered the second starboard truss segment and the third set of U.S. solar equipment. Forrester also performed two more spacewalks, and the crew delivered crewmember Clayton Anderson and returned with Sunita Williams. The mission ended with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base on June 22, 2007. Forrester’s most recent flight to space was on STS-128 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. The mission launched on August 28, 2009 and carried the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo to the International Space Station. During the mission, the crew performed three spacewalks and carried out multiple experiments. On September 11, 2009 after 217 orbits of the Earth, Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base, which was the last time a shuttle landed there.
Currently, Forrester is Chief of Safety for the Astronaut Office. He belongs to the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Army Aviation Association of America, American Helicopter Society, United States Military Academy Association of Graduates, and West Point Society of Greater Houston. He has been honored with the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Expert Infantryman Badge, NASA Exceptional Service Medals, NASA Space Flight Medals, and Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Certificate of Commendation. At his retirement from the Army in October 2005, Forrester had achieved the rank of Colonel. He is married to the former Diana Lynn Morris and they have two sons.
Image Caption: Portrait astronaut Patrick G. Forrester. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia