Robert L. Crippen
- Category : Travel-Astronaut
- Type : PSE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (11,23,62)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Rulership 3
American astronaut, selected by NASA to begin his training in June 1969. From 4/12 - 4/14/1981, he piloted the Columbia in the first U.S. space shuttle flight. Crippen commanded the second flight of the Challenger (6/18-24/1983), a historic flight that saw Sally Ride become the first American woman in space, and with this flight, he became the first astronaut to fly in two shuttle missions. He is considered to be one of the giants of the U.S. space program.
He graduated from New Caney High School in Caney, Texas and entered the University of Texas in Austin. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 1960, Crippen went to Pensacola, Florida, where he received his commission in the Navy’s Aviation Officer Program. Over the next few years, he attended flight training and earned his wings. From June 1962 to November 1964, he served as an attack pilot on the aircraft carrier USS Independence. He attended the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and after graduation, he remained there as an instructor.
In October 1966, he was selected for the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program. After moving on to NASA and completing astronaut training in September 1969, he was a member of the support crews for Skylab 2, 3 and 4 as well as for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. From 1986 to 1989, he was deputy director of Shuttle Operations at Kennedy Space Center. In 1990, he took over as director at the Washington, D.C. headquarters where he served until being named Kennedy Space Center director in 1992. He went on to become vice president of Training Simulation Systems for Lockheed Martin, and then in December 1996, he became President of Thiokol Propulsion Group in Utah.
He was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame in 1981, and throughout his career, he received many awards and honors such as the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, 1981, the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award, 1981 and the U.S. Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, 1984.
Crippen married Pandora Lee Puckett. They have three daughters.