Robert Allan Ridley Parker (born December 14, 1936) is an American physicist and astronomer, former Director of the NASA Management Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a retired NASA astronaut. He was a Mission Specialist on two Space Shuttle missions, STS-9 and STS-35.
He has logged over 3,500 hours flying time in jet aircraft and 463 hours in space.
Parker was born December 14, 1936, in New York City, but grew up in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. He attended primary and secondary schools in Shrewsbury. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Astronomy and Physics from Amherst College in 1958, and a Doctorate in Astronomy from the California Institute of Technology in 1962. Prior to his selection for astronaut training, Parker was an associate professor of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Parker was selected as a scientist-astronaut by NASA in August 1967. He was a member of the Astronaut Support Crews for the Apollo 15 and 17 missions, and served as program scientist for the Skylab program Director's Office during the three manned Skylab flights.
A veteran of two Spacelab missions, Parker was a Mission Specialist on STS-9/Spacelab-1 (28 November–8 December 1983) and on STS-35 (2–10 December 1990); which featured the ASTRO-1 ultraviolet astronomy laboratory.
Parker was director of the Division of Policy and Plans for the Office of Space Flight at NASA Headquarters from January 1991 to December 1991. From January 1992 to November 1993, he was director of the Spacelab and Operations Program. From December 1993 to August 1997 he was manager of the Space Operations Utilization Program. In August 1997, Parker was named director of the NASA Management Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Parker retired from NASA on August 31, 2005.
Honors and membershipsEdit
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