NASA Astronauts

Robert C. Springer

Class of 1964
Colonel, USMC, Ret.
NASA Astronaut (Former)


Robert C. Springer-NASA Photo

STS-38 Mission Specialist (MS) Robert C. Springer stretches out in front of the forward flight deck control panels onboard Atlantis, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 104. Springer poses with a "Semper Fi United States Marines" decal and a U.S. Naval Academy banner. A Hasselblad camera free floats in front of his chest.

PERSONAL DATA: Bob was born on May 21, 1942, in St. Louis, Missouri, but considers Ashland, Ohio to be his hometown. He is married to the former Deborah Lee Horchler and they have four children. Bob stays active by participating in long distance running, golf and kayaking.

EDUCATION: He Graduated from Ashland High School, Ashland, Ohio, in 1960. Bob continued his education and 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.

ORGANIZATIONS: When not involved with his family or pursuing a recreational activity Bob is an active member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the Marine Corps Aviation Association, and the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association. He was also a past member of the Operations Research Society and the Military Operations Research Society. Bob was named one of the Jaycee's Outstanding Young Men in America in 1977.

SPECIAL HONORS: While serving in the United States Marine Corp, Bob received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Navy Commendation Medal (2nd award), Navy Achievement Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal, Intelligence Achievement Medal, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Citation and various Vietnam Campaign ribbons and service awards.

EXPERIENCE: Bob 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 the 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 of 1968, he served as an advisor to the Republic of Korea Military Corps in Vietnam and flew 250 combat missions in 01 "Bird Dogs" and UH1 "Huey" helicopters. When Bob returned to the United States later in 1968 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 and an assignment as Wing Operations Analysis Officer. He flew UH1E "Huey's" in 1972 while with HML-267 at Camp Pendleton, California and then went on to fly "Huey's" with HML-367, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Okinawa, Japan. As an Aircraft Maintenance Officer with VMFA-451 Bob flew F-4 "Phantoms" and also attended the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) while at Beaufort, South Carolina.

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 was 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 was assigned to Headquarters Fleet marine Force, Atlantic, where he 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.

To-date Bob has logged more than 4,500 hours flying time - including 3,500 hours in jet aircraft.

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

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected as an Astronaut candidate by NASA in May of 1980, Bob became an Astronaut in August of 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 as well as working in the Mission control Center as Orbit CAPCOM for 7 flights in 1984 and 1985.

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

Twice flown, Bob has logged over 237 hours in space. He was a mission specialist on STS-29 in 1989, and STS-38 in 1990.

In December 1990 Bob retired from NASA and the U.S. Marine Corps. He was employed by The Boeing Company as Director of Quality Systems, Integrated Defense Systems. SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-29 Discovery (March 13-18, 1989) was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. 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.

STS-38 Atlantis (November 15-20, 1990) was launched at night from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. During the five-day mission the crew 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 Kennedy Space Center. In completing his second mission, Bob logged over 237 hours in space.


Astronaut Photos and Biographies - Courtesy of NASA
Lucky Bag Photos- Courtesy of USNA Archives

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