Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
STS-9 crewmembers Parker and Merbold floating about the Spacelab module
Credit: NASA
Parker, Dr Robert Alan Ridley 'Bob' (1936-) American astronomer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-9, STS-35.

Grew up in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Educated Amherst; Caltech.

Official NASA Biography

NAME: Robert Allan Ridley Parker (Ph.D.)

NASA Astronaut

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born in New York City on December 14, 1936, but grew up in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Gray hair; blue eyes; height: 5 feet 10 inches; weight: 170 pounds.

EDUCATION: Attended primary and secondary schools in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts; 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.

MARITAL STATUS: Married to the former Judy Woodruff of San Marino, California.

CHILDREN: Mark Woodruff, December 5, 1957; Jennifer Woodruff, November 4, 1958; Jon Woodruff, February 1, 1962; Kimberly Ellen Parker, February 7, 1962; Brian David Capers Parker, March 8, 1964; and five grandchildren.

ORGANIZATIONS: Member of the American Astronomical Society, and the International Astronomical Union.

SPECIAL HONORS: Awarded the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1973), and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (1974).

EXPERIENCE: Prior to his selection for astronaut training, Dr. Parker was an associate professor of astronomy at the University of Wisconsin.

He has logged over 3,500 hours flying time in jet aircraft, and 463 hours in space.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Dr. 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. From March 1988 to March 1989, Dr. Parker was stationed at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. where he served as Director of the Space Flight/Space Station Integration Office. A veteran of two Spacelab missions, Dr. Parker was a mission specialist on STS-9/Spacelab-1 (Nov 28 to Dec 8, 1983) and, recently, on STS-35 (Dec 2-10, 1990) which featured the ASTRO-1 ultraviolet astronomy laboratory. Dr. Parker is currently the Director of Policy and Plans for the Office of Space Flight at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C.


Birth Place: New York, New York.
Status: Inactive.

Born: 1936.12.14.
Spaceflights: 2 .
Total time in space: 19.29 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • NASA Group 6 - 1967 Requirement: additional scientist-astronauts for Apollo lunar landing and earth-orbit space station missions. Nickname: The Excess Eleven. More...

Associated Flights
  • Apollo 18 Crew: Gordon, Brand, Schmitt. Apollo 18 was originally planned in July 1969 to land in the moon's Schroter's Valley, a riverlike channel-way. The original February 1972 landing date was extended when NASA cancelled the Apollo 20 mission in January 1970.Support crew: Allen, Henize, Parker. More...
  • STS-9 Crew: Garriott, Lichtenberg, Merbold, Parker, Shaw, Young. First West German to fly in space. First Spacelab mission. Record six crew size in a single spacecraft. Suspect exhaust nozzle on right solid rocket booster. Landing delayed when two computers failed. Landed on fire when hydraulic pump leaked. More...
  • STS-61-E Crew: McBride, Richards, Leestma, Hoffman, Parker, Durrance, Parise. Planned Astro-1 shuttle mission. Cancelled after Challenger disaster. Backup crew: Nordsieck. More...
  • STS-35 Crew: Brand, Durrance, Gardner Guy, Hoffman, Lounge, Parise, Parker. Manned seven crew. Carried ASTRO-1 observatory. Launch scrubbed several times due to hydrogen leaks. More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Parker Chronology

1967 August 4 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 6 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Allen; Chapman; England; Henize; Holmquest; Lenoir; Llewellyn; Musgrave; O Leary; Parker; Thornton, Bill. The group was selected to provide additional scientist-astronauts for Apollo lunar landing and earth-orbit space station missions.. Qualifications: Doctorate in natural sciences, medicine, or engineering. Under 35 years old, under 183 cm height, excellent health. US citizen or willing to become a naturalized citizen.. In response to the poor result of the first scientist-astronaut selection, NASA went ahead with a second round of selections. 923 people applied, of which 69 selected by the National Academy of Sciences for NASA physical and mental evaluation. By the time the new astronauts reported, ambitious Apollo Applications plans had been scrapped, leading to their nickname 'The Excess Eleven'. Seven stayed on through the 1970's and finally got to fly aboard the space shuttle.

1973 July - .
  • Apollo 18 (cancelled) - . Crew: Gordon; Brand; Schmitt. Support Crew: Allen; Henize; Parker. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gordon; Brand; Schmitt; Allen; Henize; Parker. Program: Apollo. Flight: Apollo 18. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. The most likely landing site was the crater Gassendi. Before the cancellation, astronaut-geologist Schmitt was pressing for a more ambitious landing in Tycho or the lunar farside. NASA cancelled Apollo 18 and 19 on 2 September 1970 because of congressional cuts in FY 1971 NASA appropriations. Pressure from the scientific community resulted in geologist Schmitt flying on Apollo 17, the last lunar mission, bumping Joe Engle from the lunar module pilot slot.

1983 November 28 - . 16:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-9.
  • STS-9 - . Call Sign: Columbia. Crew: Garriott; Lichtenberg; Merbold; Parker; Shaw; Young. Payload: Columbia F06 / Spacelab 1 Pallet. Mass: 15,088 kg (33,263 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Garriott; Lichtenberg; Merbold; Parker; Shaw; Young. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-9. Spacecraft: Columbia. Duration: 10.32 days. Decay Date: 1983-12-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 14523 . COSPAR: 1983-116A. Apogee: 254 km (157 mi). Perigee: 241 km (149 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 89.50 min. Carried ESA Spacelab. Payloads: Payload: Spacelab-1 experiments, habitable Spacelab and pallet, carried 71 experiments. The six-man crew was divided into two 12-hour-day red and blue teams to operate experiments. First high-inclination orbit of 57 degrees.

1983 December 8 - .
1986 March - .
1990 December 2 - . 06:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-35R.
  • STS-35 - . Call Sign: Columbia. Crew: Brand; Durrance; Gardner, Guy; Hoffman; Lounge; Parise; Parker. Payload: Columbia F10 / BBXRT. Mass: 11,943 kg (26,329 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brand; Durrance; Gardner, Guy; Hoffman; Lounge; Parise; Parker. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-35. Spacecraft: Columbia. Duration: 8.96 days. Decay Date: 1990-12-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 20980 . COSPAR: 1990-106A. Apogee: 362 km (224 mi). Perigee: 352 km (218 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 91.70 min. Summary: Manned seven crew. Carried ASTRO-1 observatory. Payloads: Ultraviolet Astronomy TeIescope (Astro), Broad-Band X-Ray Telescope (BBXRT), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS)..

1990 December 11 - .
Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use