William F. Readdy’s
reputation for strong leadership and his substantial expertise in program
management and operations come from more than 30 years of service to the
United States as a military officer, pilot astronaut and civil service
He is a decorated naval
aviator who served as a test pilot and instructor between carrier
deployments to the North Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean in the late
1970s and early 1980s. Readdy joined the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration in 1986, but continued his military service in the Naval
Reserve, attaining the rank of captain before retiring in 2000.
He was flying as a research
pilot at Johnson Space Center in Houston when NASA tapped him for the
astronaut corps in 1987. In the next nine years, Readdy logged more than 672
hours in space on three shuttle missions. He commanded his third flight,
docking space shuttle Atlantis at the Russian space station Mir
in 1996 and overseeing the first exchange of American astronaut researchers
living aboard the Russian outpost.
Between shuttle missions,
Readdy served in a variety of engineering support and management roles. One
of his most important contributions was a five-month tour as director of
NASA operations in Star City, Russia, where he implemented activities and
fostered cooperation in the first, critical phase of the international space
In 2001, Readdy was
appointed as NASA’s associate administrator for space operations and moved
to Washington. Over the next three years while at NASA Headquarters, he led
a $6 billion-a-year enterprise comprising five major programs, four field
installations and more than 40,000 civil servant and contractor employees.
Following the tragic loss of
space shuttle Columbia in February 2003, Readdy chaired NASA’s Space
Flight Leadership Council, overseeing the agency’s recovery from the
accident and the shuttle’s successful return to flight in July 2005.
Readdy was honored as a
Meritorious Rank Executive by President Bush in 2003 and in 2005 Readdy was
awarded NASA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal for the second
time. He has also been the recipient of NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal
three times and the Exceptional Service Medal twice. In addition he is the
recipient of numerous national and international aviation and space awards,
and has been recognized for his contributions to aerospace safety.