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Robert L. Behnken was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2000 and is a veteran of two space shuttle flights. He is currently training for the Demo 2 flight of SpaceX’s CrewDragon spacecraft, the first crewed flight for that vehicle.  Behnken and his crewmate are working closely with SpaceX to develop their new spacecraft systems, which will provide roundtrip crew transportation services to the International Space Station and, along with Boeing’s Starliner, return the ability to launch humans into space from United States soil. A native of Missouri, Behnken flew STS-123 in March 2008 and STS-130 in February 2010, logging more than 708 hours in space, and more than 37 hours during six spacewalks.

Pattonville High School, Maryland Heights, Missouri, 1988;

Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, Washington University, 1992;

Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Washington University, 1992;

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 1993;

Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 1997.

Colonel Behnken’s thesis research was on control of rotating stall and surge in compressor systems.  The research included nonlinear analysis, real-time software development, and hardware construction.  During his first two years of graduate study, Colonel Behnken developed control algorithms and hardware for flexible robotic manipulators.

Colonel Behnken was commissioned via the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).  His first assignment was at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida managing and developing new weapon systems.  He next attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California with a follow on assignment to the F-22 Combined Test Force (CTF) where he served as the lead Flight Test Engineer for the 4th F-22.  He has flown more than 1,500 flight hours in more than 25 different types of aircraft.

NASA Experience:
Colonel Behnken was selected by NASA in July 2000, and following the completion of astronaut candidate training was assigned to support launch and landing activities at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.  Since then, within the Astronaut Office, he served in the Exploration branch, as Chief of the Space Station Operations Branch, and between July 2012 and July 2015 as NASA’s Chief Astronaut.  As Chief Astronaut, he was responsible for flight assignments, mission preparation, and on-orbit support of international space station crews as well as organizing astronaut office support for future launch vehicles.

Colonel Behnken trained as an international space station crew member following the loss of Columbia and as a mission specialist for STS-400 the launch-on-need rescue flight for the last Hubble servicing mission.  He flew STS-123 in March 2008 and STS-130 in February 2010, logging more than 708 hours in space, and performing more than 37 hours in six spacewalks.  Colonel Behnken is currently assigned to the cadre of astronauts that will train and fly the initial test flights of the Boeing CST-100 or Space X Dragon commercially built spacecraft. 

Colonel Behnken is currently training for the Demo 2 flight of SpaceX’s CrewDragon spacecraft, the first crewed flight for that vehicle.

Spaceflight Experience:
STS-123 Endeavour (March 11 to March 26, 2008) was a night launch/landing and the 25th International Space Station assembly mission.  Endeavour’s crew delivered the first component of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Kibo Laboratory and the final element of the station’s Mobile Servicing System, the Canadian-built Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, known as Dextre.  Colonel Behnken served a flight deck Mission Specialist for ascent and entry, performed three spacewalks, and operated both the station robotic arm and the Dextre robot.  The mission was accomplished in 250 orbits of the Earth, traveling 6,577,857 statute miles in 15 days, 18 hours, 10 minutes and 54 seconds.

STS-130 Endeavour (February 8 to February 21, 2010) was a night launch/landing and the 32nd International Space Station assembly mission.  Endeavour’s crew delivered and outfitted Node 3 (the station’s habitation module) and the Cupola (the station’s seven window Earth facing observation portal).  Colonel Behnken served as a Mission Specialist, operated the space station robotic arm, served as the spacewalking lead and performed three spacewalks.  The mission was accomplished in 217 orbits of the Earth, traveling 5,738,991 statute miles in 13 days, 18 hours, 6 minutes and 24 seconds.


Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Senior, Washington University (1992);

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (1993 to 1996);

United States Air Force Meritorious Service, Defense Meritorious Service and Defense Superior Service Medals;

NASA Space Flight Medal (2008, 2010);

NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2011),

Washington University Young Alumni Achievement Award (2009);

Distinguished Alumni Award (2013).

Douglas G. Hurley was selected as an astronaut in 2000. A veteran of two spaceflights, he was the pilot on STS‐127 and STS‐135. Hurley holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Tulane University. Before joining NASA, he was a fighter pilot and test pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Born on October 21, 1966, in Endicott, New York, but considers Apalachin, New York, his hometown. He is married with one child. Recreational interests include hunting and spending time with family in the Texas Hill Country.

Graduated from Owego Free Academy, in Owego, New York, 1984.

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Tulane University, Louisiana, 1988.

Hurley received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1988. After graduation, he attended The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, Virginia, and later, the Infantry Officers Course. Following Aviation Indoctrination in Pensacola, Florida, he entered flight training in Texas in 1989 and was designated a Naval Aviator in August 1991. He then reported to Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 101 at the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California, for initial F/A‐18 training.


Upon completion of training, he was assigned to Marine All Weather Fighter/Attack Squadron 225, where he made three overseas deployments to the Western Pacific. While assigned to VMFA (AW)‐225, he attended the United States Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course, the Marine Division Tactics Course (MDTC) and the Aviation Safety Officers Course at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California.


Over his 4 1/2 years with the “Vikings,” he served as the Aviation Safety Officer and the Pilot Training Officer. Hurley was then selected to attend the United States Naval Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland, and began the course in January 1997. After graduation in December 1997, he was assigned to the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron (VX‐23) as an F/A‐18 Project Officer and Test Pilot. At “Strike,” he participated in a variety of flight testing, including flying qualities, ordnance separation and systems testing and became the first Marine pilot to fly the F/A‐18 E/F Super Hornet. He was serving as the Operations Officer when selected for the astronaut program. Twelve years into his NASA career, Hurley retired from the United States Marine Corps after proudly serving more than 24 years.

Hurley has logged over 5,500 hours in more than 25 aircraft.

NASA Experience:
Selected as a pilot by NASA in July 2000, Hurley reported for training in August 2000.  Following the completion of two years of training and evaluation, he was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office, which have included Kennedy Operations Support as a “Cape Crusader,” where he was the lead Astronaut Support Personnel (ASP) for shuttle missions STS‐107 and STS‐121. He worked Shuttle Landing and Rollout, served on the Columbia Reconstruction Team at Kennedy Space Center and served in the Exploration branch in support of the selection of the Orion Multi‐Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV).


He also served as the NASA Director of Operations at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia. In July 2009, Colonel Hurley completed his first spaceflight as pilot on STS‐127, International Space Station Assembly Mission 2J/A. Following that mission, Hurley served as the Astronaut Office Safety Chief. In July 2011, he completed his second spaceflight as pilot on STS‐135, International Space Station Mission ULF7.


Following that flight, he served as the Assistant Director, New Programs, for the Flight Crew Operations Directorate (FCOD) at Johnson Space Center, and following the merger of Flight Operations and Mission Operations in August 2014, he became the Assistant Director for the Commercial Crew Program for the newly formed Flight Operations Directorate (FOD). Hurley is currently training for the Demo 2 flight of SpaceX’s CrewDragon spacecraft, the first crewed flight for that vehicle.

Spaceflight Experience:

STS‐127, International Space Station Assembly Mission 2J/A, Endeavour (July 15 to July 31, 2009)

Hurley delivered the Japanese‐built Exposed Facility (JEM‐EF) and the Experiment Logistics Module Exposed Section (ELM‐ES) to the space station. The crew completed the construction of the KIBO Japanese Experiment Module, installed scientific experiments on its Exposed Facility and delivered critical spare parts and replacement batteries to the orbital complex in addition to transferring 24,638 pounds of hardware and 1,225 pounds of water to the station. While the shuttle was docked, the mission featured a record 13 astronauts working aboard the space station, representing all five International Partners: NASA, the Russian Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA). The 16‐day mission included five spacewalks and was accomplished in 248 orbits of the Earth, traveling 6,547,853 miles in 15 days, 16 hours, 44 minutes and 58 seconds.


STS‐135/ULF7 (July 8 to July 21, 2011)

The Space Shuttle Atlantis carried the “Raffaello” Multi‐Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) to deliver supplies, logistics and spare parts to the International Space Station. The mission also flew a system to investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing spacecraft and returned a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems. STS‐135 was the 33rd flight of Atlantis, the 37th shuttle mission to the space station and the 135th and final mission of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. The mission, which included one spacewalk by Expedition 28’s Mike Fossum and Ron Garan, was accomplished in 200 orbits of the Earth, traveling 5,284,862 miles in 12 days, 18 hours, 27 minutes and 56 seconds.

Magna Cum Laude with Honors, Tulane University;

Distinguished Graduate, U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidates School;

Distinguished Graduate, Tulane University NROTC;

Distinguished Graduate, U.S. Navy Pilot Training. 

Stephen A. Hazelrigg Memorial Award for best Test Pilot/Engineer Team, Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron.  Awarded the Legion of Merit, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and various other service awards.

In April, 2015, he received the 2014 Tulane University Distinguished Alumni Award.