Capt. Robert L. Crippen, USN (Ret.)

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Capt. Robert Crippen, USN (Ret.)
Capt. Robert Crippen, USN (Ret.)

Note: Biography is as included in the November 29, 1995 press release announcing his selection as winner of the 1996 National Space Trophy.

Robert L. Crippen (Captain, USN, retired) joined the Lockheed Martin Information Systems Company as their Vice President for Automation Systems in April 1995.

Crippen served as the director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center From January 1992 to January 1995. During his tenure, the center processed, safely launched, and recovered 22 Space Shuttle Missions and 42 expendable rockets. He provided leadership and contract oversight for over 13,000 civil service and contractor personnel. While ensuring the highest safety standards in an extremely hazardous environment, he improved cost savings of greater than 25% by establishing and developing new quality management techniques and reducing Shuttle and payload processing times. Overall his management saved the government over $130 million.

From January 1990 to January 1992, he served as Director, Space Shuttle, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In this post he was responsible for the overall Shuttle program requirements, performance, and total program control, including budget, schedule and program content. Crippen was stationed at KSC from July 1987 to December 1989, where he served as Deputy Director Shuttle Operations for NASA, overseeing the successful return-to-flight activities after the Challenger disaster.

Born September 11, 1937, in Beaumont, Texas, Crippen received a bachelor of science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas in 1960. He was commissioned through the U.S. Navy's Aviation Officer Program. As a Navy pilot from June 1962 to November 1964, he completed a tour of duty aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence. He later attended the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Upon graduation he remained at Edwards as an instructor until his selection for the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) Program in October 1966.

Crippen became a NASA astronaut in September 1969. He was a member of the astronaut support crew for the Skylab 2, 3, and 4 missions and for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission. He was the pilot of the first orbital test flight (STS-1) of the Shuttle program (April 12-14, 1981). He commanded STS-7 (June I8~24, 1983), the first flight with a 5-person crew, including the first American woman, Sally Ride. He also commanded STS-41C (April 6-13,1984), the dynamic retrieval and repair of the Solar maximum Satellite and deployment of the Long Duration Exposure Facility. (Dick Scobee, killed in the Challenger accident, was Crippen's pilot on STS-41-C.) Crippen's last Shuttle flight, STS -41G (October 6-13,1984) was the 13th of the Shuttle program and included an Earth radiation study satellite deployment and the first Extra Vehicular Activity by an American woman, Kathy Sullivan.

Crippen's accomplishments have earned him many notable awards: the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1972; six awards in 1981, including the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award, the American Astronautical Society of Flight Achievement Award, the National Geographic Socicty's Gardiner Greene Hubbard Medal, the American Legion's Distinguished Service Medal, and induction into the Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1982 he won the Federal Aviation Administration's Award for Distinguished Service, the Goddard Memorial Trophy, and the Harmon Trophy. In 1984 he received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the U.S. Navy Distinguished Flying Cross. He also received NASA 's Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1988 and four Distinguished Service Medals in 1981, 1985, 1988, and 1993. He is also a Fellow in the American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics, American Astronautical Society and Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

In 1996, Crippen will become the tenth individual to receive the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement's National Space Trophy.

Crippen is married to the former Pandora Lee Puckett of Miami, Florida. He has three daughters: Ellen, Susan, and Linda.

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