Department of the Navy, Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station, 1983-1987. Transferred to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in 1987. Worked in the Verification Office, Electromechanical Branch, Robotics Branch, Guidance and Controls Branch, all within the Engineering Directorate. Senior EVA Tool Development Engineer for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Servicing Project. Lead Engineer for GSFC HST EVA crew aids and tools. Responsibilities included the design, analysis, fabrication, test, and integration for breadboard, WETF/NBS, engineering, and flight hardware, and the financial tracking, documentation, and review process for these tools. Additional duties included engineering support for the HST WETF/NBS Servicing Mission Simulations as a utility diver and EMU suited subject.
Selected by NASA in April 1996, Richards reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996 to begin two years of training and evaluation. Successful completion of initial training will qualify him for various technical assignments leading to selection as a mission specialist on a Space Shuttle flight crew.