Philadelphia native and NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, set to journey to space for the first time late next month as pilot of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, is available for satellite interviews from 7 to 8 a.m. CDT Friday, Aug. 4.

Ferguson’s flight, designated shuttle mission STS-115, will be the first mission dedicated to construction of the International Space Station since late 2002. It marks the beginning of a series of space flights to complete assembly of the station that will be as complex and challenging as any in history.

To participate in the Aug. 4 interviews, media should contact NASA’s Johnson Space Center newsroom at (281) 483-5111 by 3 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, Aug. 2.

Ferguson’s interviews will be carried live on the NASA TV analog satellite AMC-6, at 72 degrees west longitude; transponder 5C, 3800 MHz, vertical polarization, with audio at 6.8 MHz.

Ferguson was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Archbishop Ryan High School. He received a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Drexel University and a master’s in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.

In addition to piloting duties on STS-115, Ferguson also will operate the shuttle’s robotic arm to maneuver a new, 17-ton truss segment to the station and to inspect the shuttle heat shield. Atlantis’ flight will install the new segment of the station’s truss backbone that includes giant solar arrays, batteries and electronics. It will set the stage for more science laboratories to be added to the complex in the future. The flight will include three spacewalks to complete the assembly jobs.

For information about STS-115 on the Web, visit:

For NASA astronaut biographical information on the Web, visit: