Stephen Nathaniel Frick is an American astronaut having flown two Space Shuttle missions. Frick was also appointed as a United States Naval officer and qualified as an F/A-18 fighter pilot.
Frick was born on September 30, 1964 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Pine-Richland High School in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania in 1982. After receiving his high school diploma, Frick went on to the United States Naval Academy in 1986 to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering, then later a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering in 1994 at the US Naval Postgraduate School.
After his training, Frick was then stationed on the USS Saratoga where he flew missions throughout the duration of the Gulf War. Because of his background with flying, Frick was an ideal candidate for a NASA astronaut pilot and in 1996; he was chosen and was proficient as a Space Shuttle pilot.
On April 8, 2002, Frick piloted his first mission. The STS-110 Atlantis mission was launched at 20:44:19 UTC from the Kennedy Space Station. The purpose of this mission was to attach the S0 Truss to the International Space Station (ISS). After ten days, nineteen hours, forty-three minutes and thirty-eight seconds, totaling 171 orbits, the Space Shuttle Atlantis returned to the Kennedy Space Center on April 19, 2002 at 16:26:57 UTC to Runway 33.
Frick’s next mission, after three failed attempts, launched on February 7, 2008, STS-122 Atlantis departed at 14:25 EST. The significance of this mission was that it delivered the European Columbus laboratory to the ISS. After orbiting Earth 202 times for twelve days, eighteen hours, twenty-one minutes and fifty seconds, the Space Shuttle Atlantis, piloted by Frick, not only brought back his crew but also brought back fellow NASA astronaut Daniel M. Tani from his stay aboard the ISS. On February 20, 2008 at 9:07:10 EST, the STS-122 mission ended as the shuttle landed the Kennedy Space Center.
After his career of being a Captain in the US Navy and a pilot with NASA, logging twenty-three days, fourteen hours, and four minutes, Frick was given many honors and awards including Service medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross and a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal.
Image Caption: Official portrait image of NASA astronaut Stephen Frick, commander of STS-122. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia