Bob Crippen

Robert L. Crippen

(Retired) Captain, US Navy and Former Astronaut, NASA

B.S. ASE 1960, The University of Texas at Austin

Bob Crippen was the pilot of the first Space Shuttle flight in April 1981 and went on to command three other Space Shuttle missions. He has logged more than 565 hours in space and orbited the earth 374 times.

Crippen received his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. After graduating, he spent 30 years in the United States Navy. He was an attack pilot aboard the USS Independence, then attended the USAF Test Pilot School and subsequently became a test pilot instructor at Edwards Air Force Base in California. In 1969 he was selected as a NASA astronaut and was on the support crew for the Skylab 2, 3, and 4 missions, and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

Crippen became the director of the Space Shuttle program at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. and then the director of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He entered the private sector as a vice-president at Lockheed Martin in Orlando and then served as president of the Thiokol Propulsion Company in Utah.

Crippen has received numerous awards including the Distinguished Flying Cross from the U.S. Navy, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Federal Aviation Administration Award for Distinguished Service, the Goddard Memorial trophy, the National Geographic Society Hubbard Medal, the Aviation Hall of Fame Award, the American Legion Distinguished Service Medal, and Leadership and Service Medals from NASA.

He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame and the Aerospace Walk of Fame and was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2016. Crippen was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for Space. He is a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Crippen retired in 2001 and lives in North Palm Beach, Florida, with his wife Pandora.