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Robert Gibson


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Astronaut (retired)

Commercial Pilot

Robert Gibson retired from NASA's astronaut corps, is a pilot for Southwest Airlines He served as pilot for the STS 41-B mission, which deployed two satellites and flight tested rendezvous sensors and computer programs for the first time. The first checkout of the Manned Maneuvering Unit and Manipulator Foot Restraint highlighted the STS 41-B mission, which also included a German Shuttle Pallet Satellite, Remote Manipulator System, six "Getaway Specials," and materials processing experiments. The eight-day orbit flight culminated in the first landing on the runway at Kennedy Space Center. The astronauts logged 191 hours in space. Captain Gibson served as commander of the STS 61-C mission, which completed 68 orbits. He subsequently participated in the investigation of the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, as well as in the redesign and recertification of the solid rocket boosters. He served as Spacecraft Commander for the 50th Space Shuttle mission, STS-47, a cooperative venture between the United States and Japan, with the first Japanese astronaut as a member of the seven-person crew. Over forty investigations in the Spacelab laboratory, as well as scientific and engineering tests, were performed during the 126 orbits flown. Captain Gibson has served as Chief of the Astronaut Office and was commander of the STS-71 mission, with a seven-member (up) and eight-member (down) crew for the first Space Shuttle docking with the Russian Space Station Mir. The Space Shuttle was modified to carry a docking system compatible with Mir in order to accomplish the exchange of crews. Over the course of five space missions, he has logged a total of 36 1/2 days in space. Captain Gibson has received numerous awards, including the Federation Aeronautique Internationale "Louis Bleriot Medal," and the Experimental Aircraft Association's "Freedom of Flight" Award. Captain Gibson, who holds a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from California Polytechnic State University, established world records for Altitude in Horizontal Flight, [airplane class C1A] in 1991 and for Time to Climb to 9,000 Meters in 1994. A graduate of the Naval Fighter Weapons School "Topgun," Captain Gibson has logged over 6,000 hours in over 50 types of civil and military aircraft. He has also completed over 300 aircraft carrier landings and has held a private pilot rating since age 17. Captain Gibson is married to Dr. M. Rhea Seddon; they have four children.

From Civil Air Patrol's 1997 National Congress On Aviation And Space Education (NCASE) Conference Program.

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