Rick Searfoss is one of less than 100 people to ever command a human space mission. In his career he has led many different teams. He commanded the most complex science research space mission ever, the STS-90 Neurolab flight on Columbia, with unparalleled mission success. He also piloted two other space flights, including a joint Russian-American mission to the Mir space station.
Prior to becoming an astronaut Colonel Searfoss was a fighter pilot and test pilot in the U.S. Air Force, with over 5600 hours flying time in 70 different types of aircraft. A distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School, his recent test flying work includes flying the EZ Rocket and Rocket Racer prototype demonstrator aircraft as test pilot and Director of Flight Operations for XCOR Aerospace. He is currently the only tri-qualified liquid-propellant rocket pilot in the world.
Rick was a contributing author to the book Leadership on the Run – How to Get Better Results Faster. He also consults regularly for numerous entrepreneurial space ventures, including serving as the Chief Judge for the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the first private reusable human spacecraft. As a high-content expert speaker on leadership, teamwork, innovation, and peak performance, his extensive leadership experience and work with some of the most innovative companies of the new millennium enable him to fulfill his mission of sharing the teamwork, leadership, and innovation lessons of human space flight while bringing the wonders of Space to Earth for all to enjoy.
Rick’s numerous awards include the Harmon, Fairchild, Price and Tober Awards as the number one overall, academic, engineering, and aeronautical engineering graduate in his USAF Academy class, National Science Foundation Fellowship to Cal Tech, USAF Squadron Officer's School Commandant's Trophy as top graduate, Tactical Air Command F-111 Instructor Pilot of the Year, Outstanding Young Men of America, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Legion of Merit.
Rick resides in California with his wife and daughters, who have always graciously and patiently supported his flying, space, and storytelling habits!