Drew Feustel
Feustel in 2007
Andrew Jay Feustel

(1965-08-25) August 25, 1965 (age 58)
EducationOakland Community College (AS)
Purdue University (BS, MS)
Queen's University (PhD)
Space career
NASA astronaut
Time in space
225d 9h 16m
SelectionNASA Group 18 (2000)
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
61h 48m[1][2]
Soyuz MS-08 (Expedition 55/56)
Mission insignia

Andrew Jay "Drew" Feustel (/ˈfɔɪstəl/; born August 25, 1965) is a former American/Canadian NASA astronaut and geophysicist. Following several years working as a geophysicist, Feustel was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in July 2000. He is the veteran of 3 space flights with NASA.[3] His first spaceflight in May 2009, STS-125, lasted just under 13 days.[4][5] This was a mission with six other astronauts to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis. Feustel performed three spacewalks during the mission.[6] His second spaceflight was STS-134, which launched on May 16, 2011, and landed on June 1, 2011. STS-134 was the penultimate Space Shuttle flight. Feustel returned to space on March 21, 2018, on Soyuz MS-08 with Expedition 55/56.[7][8] For expedition 56, he commanded the International Space Station, before handing over to Alexander Gerst on October 3, 2018.

Education and early career

Feustel was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.[4][9] He grew up in Lake Orion, Michigan, where he graduated from Lake Orion High School in 1983, and received an AS degree from Oakland Community College in 1985. He then attended Purdue University, where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and received both a BS degree in Solid Earth Sciences (1989) and a MS degree in Geophysics (1991). He then moved to Ontario, Canada to attend Queen's University, where he received his PhD in Geological Sciences in 1995.[4]

While attending community college, Feustel worked as an auto mechanic at International Autoworks, Ltd., Farmington Hills, Michigan, restoring 1950s Jaguars.[4] At Purdue University, Feustel served as a Residence Hall Counselor for two years at Cary Quadrangle for the Purdue University Student Housing organization. His summers were spent working as a commercial and industrial glazier near his home in Michigan. During his master's degree studies Feustel worked as a Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant in the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department of Purdue University. His M.S. thesis investigated physical property measurements of rock specimens under elevated hydrostatic pressures simulating Earth's deep crustal environments. While at Purdue, Feustel served for three years as Grand Prix Chairman and team Kart driver for Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity.[4] In 1991, Feustel moved to Kingston, Ontario, Canada to attend Queen's University where he worked as a Graduate Research Assistant and Graduate Teaching Assistant. Feustel's Ph.D. thesis investigated seismic wave attenuation in underground mines and measurement techniques and applications to site characterization.[4]

For three years, Feustel worked as a geophysicist for the Engineering Seismology Group, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, installing and operating microseismic monitoring equipment in underground mines throughout Eastern Canada and the United States. In 1997, he began working for the Exxon Exploration Company (now ExxonMobil Exploration Company), Houston, Texas, as an exploration geophysicist designing and providing operational oversight of land, marine, and borehole seismic programs worldwide.[4] He worked in industry for five years before joining NASA.

NASA career

Feustel re-entering the International Space Station after the second spacewalk of the STS-134 mission

In July 2000, Feustel was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA. He reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 2000, where he began NASA's two-year training program, training as a mission specialist. After his initial training, he worked in technical roles the Astronaut Office Space Shuttle and Space Station Branches.[3]

Feustel's subsequent NASA Astronaut training includes: Field Medical Training, Field Maintenance Training, NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operation (NEEMO) X in the Aquarius Habitat in Key Largo, Florida; CAVES in Sardinia, Italy; National Outdoor Leadership School training in Alaska and Mexico; Winter Survival Training with the Canadian Armed Forces; Desert RATS in Arizona; Geotechnical Studies in Antarctica; and DeepWorker Submersible Pilot Training. He is qualified as a Space Shuttle and Space Station Robotic Arm Operator, Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM), and Instructor Astronaut for Extravehicular activity (EVA) training at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.[3]

In July 2006, Feustel served as an aquanaut during the NEEMO 10 mission aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory, living and working underwater for seven days.[10] In October 2006, Feustel was announced as a crew member for STS-125, the final Hubble servicing mission by the Space Shuttle. STS-125 launched on May 11, 2009.[5]

In 2013, Feustel served as cavenaut into the ESA CAVES[11] training in Sardinia, alongside Soichi Noguchi, Andreas Mogensen, Nikolai Tikhonov, David Saint-Jacques and Michael Fincke.


Feustel's first mission was STS-125, which was successfully launched to repair the Hubble Space Telescope on May 11, 2009. On this mission, Feustel was a mission specialist, and performed three spacewalks to help repair the telescope itself.[9] During the mission, Feustel accumulated a total EVA time of twenty hours and thirty eight minutes. He took with him a copy of "Cosmic Songs" (1878) by the Czech poet Jan Neruda and Emm Gryner's album Asianblue.[12]


Feustel (right) pictured with fellow astronaut Mike Fincke prior to an EVA during STS-134

Feustel was a mission specialist on the STS-134 mission, during which he performed three more spacewalks.[13] During this mission Feustel took a soft toy of the cartoon character Mole to space. In July 2011 Feustel and his family flew to Czech Republic to give that Mole to his creator the Czech animator and illustrator Zdeněk Miler.[14] He was very happy and thanked Feustel with an artwork of him. Just four months later Miler died at the age of 90 years.

Expedition 55/56

Feustel returned to space on launching on March 21, 2018[7] for a six month[15] stay during Expedition 55/56. He served as a flight engineer on Expedition 55, and then became the International Space Station (ISS) commander of Expedition 56.[16] He returned to Earth on October 4, 2018.

Feustel pictured during an EVA in 2018

On March 29, 2018, Feustel performed the first EVA of his mission with crewmate Ricky Arnold. They installed wireless communications equipment on the station's Tranquility module to enhance payload data processing for the ECOSTRESS experiment (Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station). They also swapped out high-definition video cameras on the port truss of the station's backbone and removed aging hoses from a cooling component on the station's truss. The duration of the spacewalk was 6 hours and 10 minutes.

Acting Chief of Astronauts

In November, 2022 Feustel stepped in as Acting Chief of Astronauts after Reid Wiseman stepped down. In February, 2023 Joseph Acaba was appointed Chief, taking over from Feustel.


After working for NASA for 23 years, Drew Feustel has announced his retirement from the agency.

Personal life

Feustel is married to Indira Devi Feustel (née Bhatnagar). Andrew and Indira met as undergraduates at the beginning of Indira's master's degree at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana; they have two sons. He enjoys automobile restoration, skiing and guitar, and is a member of the astronaut band Max Q.[4]


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ "Biographies of U.S. Astronauts: Feustel Andrew Jay "Drew"". spacefacts.de. Archived from the original on March 14, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  2. ^ "Astronauts Venture into Space for a Spacewalk". June 14, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Andrew J. Feustel (PH.D.) NASA Astronaut". Astronaut Biographies. NASA. March 16, 2016. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Whiting, Melanie (October 5, 2018). "Andrew J. Feustel". NASA. Archived from the original on November 1, 2018. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  5. ^ a b NASA (May 11, 2009). "STS-125 MCC Status Report #01". NASA. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  6. ^ "Feustel". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on November 29, 2010. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Siacon, Aleanna (March 21, 2018). "Purdue astronaut Andrew Feustel among NASA crew heading to International Space Station". IndyStar. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  8. ^ Garcia, Mark (February 27, 2018). "Expedition 54 Trio Undocks from Station, Begins Ride Home". blogs.nasa.gov. NASA. Archived from the original on March 18, 2021. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  9. ^ a b NASA (July 31, 2008). "Preflight Interview: Andrew Feustel, Mission Specialist". NASA9. Archived from the original on September 25, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
  10. ^ NASA (2006). "NASA Uses Undersea Lab to Prep for Future Space Exploration". NASA. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  11. ^ Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Payler, Samuel J.; Vattano, Marco; Sauro, Francesco Maria; Turchi, Leonardo; Bessone, Loredana (July 1, 2021). "Speleology as an analogue to space exploration: The ESA CAVES training programme". Acta Astronautica. 184: 150–166. Bibcode:2021AcAau.184..150S. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2021.04.003. hdl:11585/819077. ISSN 0094-5765. S2CID 234819922.
  12. ^ "EMM GRYNER on Instagram: "The astronauts I have met have taught me so much about life on earth. Take @colchrishadfield and @astro_feustel for example. Through Chris..." March 18, 2022. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  13. ^ NASA (May 2011). "STS-134 Mission Summary" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  14. ^ "Pictures of Feustel during the surrender of the soft toy Mole in Czech Republic + article (Zemřel Zdeněk Miler. Otec Krtka, kterého nám závidí Hollywood)" (in Czech). iDNES.cz. November 30, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  15. ^ Interview with Feustel, October 6, 2016.
  16. ^ Karen Northon (January 4, 2017). "NASA Assigns Upcoming Space Station Crew Members". NASA press release 17-001. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
Preceded byAnton Shkaplerov ISS Expedition Commander June 1, 2018 - October 3, 2018 Succeeded byAlexander Gerst