[ROBERT C. SPRINGER (colonel, USMC)] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NASA Astronaut

Born May 21,1942, in St Louis, Missouri, but considers Ashland, Ohio, to be his hometown. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Springer, reside in Ashland.

Brown hair; blue eyes; height: 6 feet 1/2 inch; weight: 170 pounds.

Graduated from Ashland High School, Ashland, Ohio, in 1960; received a bachelor of science degree in Naval Science from the United States Naval Academy in 1964 and a master of science in Operations Research and Systems Analysis from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1971.

Married to the former "Molly" (Mary) M. McCoy of Parma, Ohio. Her father, Mr. James McCoy, resides in Seabrook, Texas; her mother is deceased.

Chad, August 12, 1970; Kira, February 12, 1972; and Derek, December 1, 1976.

He enjoys long-distance running, tennis, golf, and windsurfing.

Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the Marine Corps Aviation Association, and the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association; past member of the Operations Research Society and the Military Operations Research Society; named one of the Jaycee's Outstanding Young Men in America in 1977.

Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal (21st award), Navy Commendation Medal (2nd award), Navy Achievement Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Citation, and various Vietnam Campaign ribbons and service awards.

Springer received a commission in the United States Marine Corps following graduation from Annapolis in 1964. He attended the Marine Corps Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, before reporting to the Navy Air Training Command for flight training at Pensacola, Florida, and Beeville, Texas. Upon receiving his aviator wings in August 1966, he was assigned to VMFA-513 at the Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, where he flew F-4 aircraft. He was subsequently assigned to VMFA-115 at Chu Lai in the Republic of Vietnam, where he flew F-4s and completed 300 combat missions. In June 1968, he served as an advisor to the Republic of Korea Marine Corps in Vietnam and flew 250 combat missions in O1 "Bird Dogs" and UH1 "Huey" helicopters. Springer returned to the United States later that year to attend the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and in March 1971, he reported to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at El Toro, California, for an assignment as wing operations analysis officer. He flew UH1 E "Huey's" in 1972 while with HML-267 at Camp Pendleton, California, and then went to Okinawa to fly " Huey's" with HML-367, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Springer flew F-4 "Phantoms" as an aircraft maintenance officer with VMFA-451 in Beaufort, South Carolina, and also attended Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun). A 1975 graduate of the U. S. Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, he served as Head of the Ordnance Systems Branch and as a test pilot for more than 20 different types of fixed and rotary-winged aircraft. In this capacity he performed the first flights in the AHIT helicopter. He graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1978, and, assigned to Headquarters Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, assumed responsibility for joint operational planning for Marine Forces in NATO and the Mid-East. He was serving as aide-de-camp for the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, when advised of his selection by NASA.

He has logged more than 4,500 hours flying time, including 3,500 hours in jet aircraft.

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in May 1980, Springer became an astronaut in August 1981. His technical assignments have included support crew for STS-3, concept development studies for the Space Operations Center, and the coordination of various aspects of the final development of the Remote Manipulator System for operational use. He worked in the Mission Control Center as Orbit CAPCOM for 7 flights in 1984 and 1985.

Springer was responsible for astronaut office coordination of Design Requirements Reviews (DRR) and Design Certification Reviews (DCR). These review efforts encompassed the total recertification and reverification of the NSTS prior to STS-26 return to flight status.

Springer was a mission specialist on the crew of STS-29, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, aboard the Orbiter Discovery, on March 13, 1989. During 80 orbits of the earth on this highly successful five- day mission, the crew deployed a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite and performed numerous secondary experiments, including a Space Station "heat pipe" radiator experiment, two student experiments, a protein crystal growth experiment, and a chromosome and plant cell division experiment. In addition, the crew took over 4,000 photographs of the earth using several types of cameras, including the IMAX 70 mm movie camera. Mission duration was 119 hours and concluded with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on March 18, 1989.

More recently Springer served as a mission specialist on STS-38. The five-man crew launched at night from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 15, 1990. During the five day mission crewmembers conducted Department of Defense operations. After 80 orbits of the earth, in the first Shuttle recovery in Florida since 1985, Space Shuttle Atlantis and her crew landed back at the Kennedy Space Center on November 20, 1990. With the completion of his second mission, Springer has logged over 237 hours in space.


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