The last astronaut to command a space shuttle mission is leaving NASA for the private sector, the U.S. space agency announced Dec. 5

Astronaut Chris Ferguson, who in July commanded Atlantis on the final mission of NASA’s 30-year space shuttle program, retired from the agency Dec. 9.

Ferguson joined NASA in 1998 and made three trips to space. His retirement follows that of Mike Leinbach, the space shuttle launch director who stepped down Nov. 30. In an email to colleagues, Leinbach said he was going to work for “a major aerospace company.”

Also at the end of November, NASA human spaceflight veteran Lynn Cline, Exploration Systems deputy associate administrator for policy and plans, announced she would be retiring from the agency effective Dec. 31. He last day at the office will be Dec. 16, she said in an email to colleagues.