Robert L. Crippen (NAE)
Robert L. Crippen (NAE)
Captain, US Navy (retired); Former President, Thiokol Propulsion
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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.

During his 30 years in the United States Navy, he was an attack pilot aboard the USS Independence and then 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.

Captain Crippen became director of the Space Shuttle program at NASA Headquarters in Washington and then 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 Brigham City, Utah.

His numerous awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross from the US Navy, Defense Superior Service Medal, Federal Aviation Administration Award for Distinguished Service, Goddard Memorial Trophy, National Geographic Society Hubbard Medal, American Legion Distinguished Service Medal, Congressional Medal of Honor for Space, and Leadership and Service Medals from NASA. He has been inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame, Aerospace Walk of Fame, and National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2016. He is a fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and an honorary fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was elected to the NAE in 2012.

Captain Crippen earned his BS in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

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