[Robert L. Crippen (Captain, USN)] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: Robert L. Crippen (Captain, USN)
NASA Astronaut

Born in Beaumont, Texas, on September 11, 1937.

Brown hair; brown eyes; height: 5 feet 10 inches; weight: 160 pounds.

Graduated from New Caney High School in Caney, Texas; and received a bachelor of science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas in 1960.


Ellen Marie, June 14, 1962; Susan Lynn, December 24, 1964; and Linda Ruth, May 10, 1967.


Member, Society of Experimental Test Pilots; associate fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; and fellow, American Astronautical Society.

Awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1981), the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the JSC Group Achievement Award (1972), the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1981); and the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal (1981). Also received the American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award (1981), the National Geographic Society's Gardiner Greene Hubbard Medal (1981), the Aviation Hall of Fame 1981 Al J. Engel Award, the American Legion's Distinguished Service Medal (1981), the SETP Iven C. Kincheloe Award (1981), the Federal Aviation Administration's Award for Distinguished Service (1982), the Goddard Memorial Trophy (1982), the Harmon Trophy (1982), and four NASA Space Flight Medals.

Crippen received his commission through the Navy's Aviation Officer Program at Pensacola, Florida, which he entered after graduation from the University of Texas. He continued his flight training at Whiting Field, Florida, and went from there to Chase Field in Beeville, Texas, where he received his wings.

From June 1962 to November 1964, he was assigned to Fleet Squadron VA-72 -- completing 2-1/2 years of duty as an attack pilot aboard the aircraft carrier USS INDEPENDENCE. He later attended the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and upon graduation, remained there as an instructor until his selection in October 1966, to the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program. Crippen was among the second group of aerospace research pilots to be assigned to the MOL Program.

He has logged more than 6,500 hours flying time, which includes more than 5,500 hours in jet aircraft.

Crippen became a NASA astronaut in September 1969. He was a crew member on the highly successful Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test (SMEAT) -- a 56-day simulation of the Skylab mission, enabling crewmen to collect medical experiments baseline data and evaluate equipment, operations, and procedures. Crippen was a member of the astronaut support crew for the Skylab 2, 3, and 4 missions, and he served in this same capacity for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission, which was completed successfully in July 1975. Crippen completed his first space flight as pilot of STS-1, the first orbital test flight of the Shuttle Columbia, April 12-14, 1981. He was accompanied by John Young (spacecraft commander) on this 54-1/2 hour, 36-orbit engineering test flight to evaluate and verify Shuttle systems performance during launch, on-orbit, and landing operations. STS-1 achieved a nominal 146 nautical mile circular orbit. Tests included evaluation of Orbiter hardware and software systems, investigation of the Orbiter thermal response while in orbit, evaluation of Orbiter attitude and maneuvering thruster systems and guidance navigation system performance, and evaluation of Orbiter crew compatibility. Columbia was the first true manned spaceship. It was also the first manned vehicle to be flown into orbit without benefit of previous unmanned "orbital" testing; the first to launch with wings using solid rocket boosters. It was also the first winged reentry vehicle to return to a conventional runway landing, weighing more than 99-tons as it was braked to a stop on the dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Crippen was spacecraft commander of STS-7, the second flight for the Orbiter Challenger, June 18-24 1983. This was the first mission with a 5-person crew which included Rick Hauck (pilot), and three mission specialists, John Fabian, Sally Ride, and Norman Thagard. During the mission, the crew deployed satellites for Canada (ANIK C-2) and Indonesia (PALAPA B-1); operated the Canadian- built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) to perform the first deployment and retrieval exercise with the Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS-01); conducted the first formation flying of the Orbiter with a free-flying satellite (SPAS-01); carried and operated the first U.S./German cooperative materials science payload (OSTA-2); and operated the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) and the Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR) experiments, in addition to activating seven Getwaway Specials. Mission duration was 147 hours before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California,

On his third flight Crippen was spacecraft commander of STS 41-C, April 6-13 1984. His crew included Dick Scobee (pilot), and three mission specialists, Terry Hart, Pinky Nelson, and Ox van Hoften. During this 7-day mission the crew successfully deployed the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF); retrieved the ailing Solar Maximum Satellite, repaired it onboard the orbiting Challenger, and replaced it in orbit using the robot arm called the Remote Manipulator System (RMS); flight tested the Manned Maneuvering Units (MMU's) in two extravehicular activities (EVA's); as well as operating the Cinema 360 and IMAX Camera Systems, and a Bee Hive Honeycomb Structures student experiment. Mission duration was 168-hours before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

As spacecraft commander of STS 41-G, October 5-13 1984, Crippen's crew, the largest to fly to date, included Jon McBride (pilot), three mission specialists, Kathy Sullivan, Sally Ride, and David Leestma, as well as two payload specialists, Marc Garneau and Paul Scully-Power. 8-day mission deployed the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, conducted scientific observations of the Earth with the OSTA-3 pallet and Large Format Camera, as well as demonstrating potential satellite refueling with an EVA and associated hydrazine transfer. Mission duration was 197 hours and concluded with a landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Deputy Director, NSTS Operations, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Center Director, Kennedy Space Center Vice President for Simulation and Training Systems Lockheed Martin Information Systems Company

CURRENT Employment:
Thiokol Corp, Utah


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