Steve Lindsey, NASA astronaut announced on Thursday, that he will leave the agency on Friday July 15, to pursue a career within the aerospace industry.

Lindsey, who served as the chief of the NASA Astronaut Office from September 2006 to October 2009 is a veteran of five space shuttle missions and a retired colonel in the U.S. Air Force.

Steve's a consummate leader and has been a great role model within the corps, Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office said.

His calm demeanor and steady presence has been invaluable to not only his shuttle mission crews but also our office as a whole. I know he will be a great asset to the next team privileged to work with him, Whitson said.

Lindsey was responsible for spacecraft development; crew selection and training; flight test and crew operations in support of the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station Programs.

Lindsey commanded the STS-133 flight in February 2011, STS-121 in 2006 and STS-104 in 2001. He served as the pilot on STS-95 in 1998 and STS-87 in 1997. He joined NASA as an astronaut candidate in 1994 and has logged more than 1500 hours in space.