Robert Crippen

Robert Crippen
Crippen in 1979
Robert Laurel Crippen

(1937-09-11) September 11, 1937 (age 86)
EducationUniversity of Texas, Austin (BS)
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross
Congressional Space Medal of Honor
NASA Distinguished Service Medal
Space career
NASA astronaut
RankCaptain, USN
Time in space
23d 13h 46m
SelectionUSAF MOL Group 2 (1966)
NASA Group 7 (1969)
Mission insignia
RetirementDecember 31, 1991

Robert Laurel Crippen (born September 11, 1937) is an American retired naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aerospace engineer, and retired astronaut. He traveled into space four times: as pilot of STS-1 in April 1981, the first Space Shuttle mission; and as commander of STS-7 in June 1983, STS-41-C in April 1984, and STS-41-G in October 1984. He was also a part of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL), Skylab Medical Experiment Altitude Test (SMEAT), ASTP support crew member, and the Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) for the Space Shuttle.

In 1986, Crippen participated in the recovery operations for the remains of crew members after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. He was also on the commission responsible for determining the cause of the accident.

After retiring as an astronaut, Crippen worked his way through management at NASA, namely as Director, Space Shuttle, at NASA Headquarters, then Director of the Kennedy Space Center. He also went to Lockheed Martin and Thiokol Propulsion before retiring to private life in Florida.

Crippen has received several awards and honors, including the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 2006, and having an elementary school named after him in Porter, Texas. He is also a fellow of several organizations, including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP).