Ashby, Jeffrey Shears

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

Jeff Ashby, Astronaut

(1954 - )


Born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in Evergreen, graduating from Evergreen High School in 1972.

Jeff had a career as a naval aviator, serving as a naval test pilot who helped to develop the FA-18 and served as Commander of a fighter squadron stationed aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.

In his 25-year Navy career, Ashby accumulated over 7000 flight hours and 1000 aircraft carrier landings during 6 aircraft carrier deployments.

As a test pilot, he directed testing of the FA-18 Hornet’s smart weapons, night vision, and electronic warfare systems.

Ashby logged 65 combat missions in the FA-18 during Operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch in Iraq, and Operation Continue Hope in Somalia before serving as the Commanding Officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 94 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln - under his leadership, VFA-94 earned the coveted Battle "E" Award designating it as the Navy's top FA-18 squadron in 1994.

He reported to the Johnson Space Center for astronaut duties in 1995 at age 40, completing three space missions, with 436 orbits around the Earth and over 660 hours in zero G.

  • In 1999, Ashby was the pilot on Space Shuttle Columbia.
  • In 2001, he served as pilot aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on the 6th assembly flight of the International Space Station.
  • In 2002, Ashby was the mission commander of Space Shuttle Atlantis on the 9th assembly flight of the International Space Station.
  • He has traveled over 11 million miles, flown 436 orbits around the Earth, and logged over 660 hours (27.5 days) in space.


  • Defense Superior Service Medal
  • Legion of Merit
  • Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal
  • Meritorious Service Medal
  • four Navy Air Medals
  • two Navy Commendation Medals
  • Navy Achievement Medal
  • Navy Attack Aviator of the Year 1991
  • NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal
  • NASA Exceptional Service Medal
  • and three NASA Space Flight Medals

After a 4-year special assignment to the Headquarters, Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Ashby joined Alliant Tech Systems (ATK) Space Systems Group in 2008 as the Vice President of Business Development.

He and his wife, Paige, live in Colorado Springs.

Sources:  NASA biography