Richards flew on STS-102 and has logged over 307 hours in space, including 6.4 EVA hours.
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Paul Richards, holds a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland, but had begun working as engineer for the Department of the Navy, Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station, 1983-1987. Richards then transferred to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in 1987. He was selected for the astronaut program in 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, he qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Richards was initially assigned to the Computer Branch working on software for the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. He next served in the Astronaut Office Shuttle Operations Branch assigned to support Payload and General Support Computers (PGSCs) and the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL). Richards flew on STS-102 and has logged over 307 hours in space, including 6.4 EVA hours. He was assigned as a back-up crewmember for ISS Expedition-7. Richards left NASA in February 2002 to become an aerospace consultant. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Space Business Roundtable and currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Drexel University’s College of Engineering. In 2004 Richards returned to NASA GSFC as the Observatory Manager for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R Series). The GOES-R series is the next-generation of advanced weather satellites being developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in partnership with NASA.