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Bridges, Roy Dunbard Jr
Credit: www.spacefacts.de
American test pilot astronaut 1980-1986. Grew up in Gainesville, Georgia. Flew 226 combat missions in Vietnam.

Status: Inactive; Active 1980-1986. Born: 1943-07-19. Spaceflights: 1 . Total time in space: 7.95 days. Birth Place: Atlanta, Georgia.

Official NASA Biography as of June 2016:ROY D. BRIDGES, JR.

Roy D. Bridges, Jr., was Director of NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, from August 10, 2003 until October 3, 2005.  He plans to retire from NASA at the end of the year to pursue other interests.  He is currently conducting a study for NASA’s Associate Administrator on the headquarters’ function that integrates institutional plans and budgets for all of NASA’s Centers.

As the senior management official of the laboratory employing approximately 2,100 civil service and 1,800 contractor personnel, Bridges was responsible for the Center’s aeronautical and space research programs, as well as facilities, personnel, and administration.  He was also an advisor to the NASA Administrator on Agency programs.

Bridges came to Langley in 2003 after serving as Director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for over six years.  In that capacity, he was responsible for managing facilities and activities related to the processing and launch of the Space Shuttle, processing and integration of Shuttle payloads and those aboard Expendable Launch Vehicles (ELVs), as well as final tests and preparation of elements delivered to the International Space Station via Shuttle.  He was also responsible for managing the acquisition and launch of all NASA ELV missions.

Bridges is a retired U.S. Air Force Major General who has held many key space-related roles.  Prior to his last USAF assignment at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, he was the Commander, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California.  He also was the Commander, Eastern Space and Missile Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, and Commander, 412th Test Wing, Edwards Air Force Base, California.

As a NASA Astronaut, he piloted the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-51F in July 1985.

Bridges is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering science.  He received a Master of Science degree in astronautics from Purdue University, Indiana, and, in May 2001, he received an honorary doctorate of engineering degree from Purdue.

He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.  Most recently, he was awarded NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and the Presidential Meritorious Executive Award.

Bridges was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but grew up in Gainesville, Georgia.  He lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, with his wife, Benita.


This is the only version available from NASA.  Updates must be sought direct from the above named individual.

Official NASA Biography

NAME: Roy D. Bridges, Jr. (Colonel, USAF)

NASA Astronaut

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born July 19, 1943, in Atlanta, Georgia, but considers Gainesville, Georgia, to be his hometown. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Roy D. Bridges, Sr., reside in Gainesville.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Red hair; hazel eyes; height: 5 feet 8 inches; weight: 145 pounds.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Gainesville High School, Gainesville, Georgia, in 1961; received a bachelor of science degree in engineering science from the United States Air Force Academy in 1965, and a master of science degree in astronautics from Purdue University in 1966.

MARITAL STATUS: Married to the former Benita Louise Allbaugh of Tucson, Arizona. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John R. Allbaugh, reside in Tucson.

CHILDREN: Tanya M., March 12, 1970; and Brian N., May 23, 1974.

RECREATIONAL INTERESTS: He enjoys jogging, camping, backpacking, and flying.

ORGANIZATIONS: Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and life member of the Air Force Academy Association of Graduates.

SPECIAL HONORS: 3 Air Force Distinguished Flying Crosses, 15 Air Medals, an Air Force Commendation Medal, an Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, an Air Force Systems Command Certificate of Merit (for selection as the AFSC nominee for the Jabara Award for Airmanship in 1974), Distinguished Graduate of the USAF Academy, Distinguished Graduate of USAF Pilot Training, Top Graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School, and a Distinguished Graduate of the Air Command and Staff College. Recipient of NASA Certificate of Commendation.

EXPERIENCE: After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in 1965, Bridges attended Purdue University in residence to complete the requirements for his master of science degree. He then entered and completed pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona. He was assigned to the 524th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Clovis AFB, NM, in 1967, as an F-100 pilot. During 1968, he flew 226 combat missions in the F-100 while a member of the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron and Commando Sabre Operation at Phu Cat Air Base in the Republic of Vietnam. In 1969, Bridges returned to the United States as a pilot instructor assigned to the 3575th Pilot Training Squadron at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and in 1970, attended the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He remained at Edwards following graduation in 1971, for an assignment as test pilot with the Air Force Flight Test Center. He was involved in a number of aircraft test projects, including the A-X flyoff and subsequent test and evaluation of the A-10.

In 1975, he entered the Air Command and Staff College and subsequently went to work for the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development at Headquarters USAF in Washington, D.C. While at the Pentagon, he participated in development and acquisition programs for F-15 and A-10 aircraft and served as a special assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development. He was assigned to Detachment 3 of the Air Force Flight Test Center as a special projects officer when informed of his selection by NASA.

He has logged more than 3,800 hours flying time in the following aircraft: T-2, T-28, T-33, T-37, T-38, T-41, A-37, A-7, A-9, A-10, B-26, B-52, B-57, F-100, F-104, NF-104, F-106, F-4, KC-135, and G-2 (Shuttle Training Aircraft).

NASA EXPERIENCE: Bridges was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in May 1980, and completed a 1-year training and evaluation period, in August 1981. He was backup entry spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) for STS-4 and the primary entry CAPCOM for STS-5 and STS-6. In addition, he was primary ascent CAPCOM for STS-7.

Bridges was the pilot on the Spacelab-2 mission (STS 51-F) which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on July 29, 1985. He was accompanied by Col. Charles G. Fullerton (spacecraft commander), three mission specialists, Drs. Anthony W. England, Karl G. Henize, and F. Story Musgrave, as well as two payload specialists, Dr's. Loren Acton and John-David Bartoe. This mission was the first pallet-only Spacelab mission and the first mission to operate the Spacelab Instrument Pointing System (IPS). It carried 13 major experiments of which 7 were in the field of astronomy and solar physics, 3 were for studies of the Earth's ionosphere, 2 were life science experiments, and 1 studied the properties of superfluid helium. After 126 orbits of the Earth, STS 51-F Challenger landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on August 6, 1985. With the completion of this flight Bridges has logged 188 hours in space.

CURRENT ASSIGNMENT: Colonel Bridges has been assigned as the pilot on STS 61-F scheduled for launch on May 15, 1986. This mission will deploy the Ulysses spacecraft with a high energy Centaur upper stage. This will be the first flight of the NASA-provided Centaur which will boost the Ulysses into a heliocentric orbit timed to swing-by the planet Jupiter in July 1987. The gravitational field of Jupiter will be used to deflect Ulysses into an out-of- ecliptic trajectory which will result in passage over the polar regions of the Sun in 1989-1991. The primary mission of the European Space Agency-provided Ulysses will be an investigation of the properties of the Sun, the solar wind, and the heliosphere as a function of latitude. This will be the first data obtained from the solar polar regions.

Currently Commander of the Eastern Space and Missile Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.


Official USAF Biography

Retired July 1, 1996

Major General Roy D. Bridges Jr. is director of requirements, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The directorate of requirements is the command focal point for product management policy, processes, and resources.

The general was born in Atlanta and graduated from Gainesville (Ga.) High School. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1965 and from Purdue University in 1966. After completing pilot training, he was assigned to a tactical fighter wing and flew 226 F-100 combat missions in Vietnam. He later served as a T-37 instructor pilot, test pilot, and Headquarters Air Force staff officer. As a NASA astronaut, he piloted the space shuttle Challenger on STS 51-F, and the Spacelab 2 mission which launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., completing 126 orbits. Following his astronaut duty, he commanded a flight test wing, a space launch center, and the Air Force Flight Test Center. He is a command astronaut pilot with more than 4,460 flying hours.


1965 Distinguished graduate, bachelor of engineering science degree, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1966 Master of science degree in astronautics, Purdue University, Ind.
1971 USAF Test Pilot School, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
1976 Distinguished graduate, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1988 University of New Hampshire Executive Development Management Program, Durham


1. June 1965 - January 1966, student, Purdue University, Ind.
2. March 1966 - March 1967, student, pilot training, Williams Air Force Base, Ariz.
3. March 1967 - November 1968, F-100 pilot, 524th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
4. December 1968 - December 1969, F-100 pilot, 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron and Commando Sabre Operation (Misty), Phu Cat Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
5. January 1969 - July 1970, T-37 instructor pilot, 3575th Pilot Training Squadron, Vance Air Force Base, Okla.
6. July 1970 - July 1971, student, USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
7. July 1971 - July 1975, test pilot, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
8. August 1975 - June 1976, distinguished graduate, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
9. June 1976 - July 1979, F-15 and A-10 program element monitor, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
10. July 1979 - November 1979, special assistant to the deputy chief of staff, research, development, and acquisition, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
11. November 1979 - July 1980, assistant director of plans, Detachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
12. July 1980 - May 1986, astronaut, Johnson Space Center, Houston
13. May 1986 - March 1989, commander, 6510th Test Wing, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
14. March 1989 - January 1990, commander, Eastern Space and Missile Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.
15. January 1990 - August 1991, deputy chief of staff, test and resources, Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
16. August 1991 - June 1993, commander, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
17. June 1993 - present, director of requirements, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

Rating: Command astronaut pilot
Flight hours: 4,460
Principal aircraft flown: F-100, F-104, A-10, A-37, OV-99 (space shuttle), C-11, F-15, T-33, T-37, T-38

Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster

Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
NASA Space Flight Medal

Distinguished graduate of USAF Pilot Training
Top graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School
NASA Certificate of Commendation

Second Lieutenant Jun 9, 1965
First Lieutenant Dec 9, 1966
Captain Jun 13, 1968
Major Nov 19, 1973
Lieutenant Colonel Aug 10, 1979
Colonel Dec 1, 1983
Brigadier General Jul 1, 1990
Major General Jan 1, 1993

(Current as of February 1994)

More at: Bridges.

Family: Astronaut, NASA Group 9 - 1980. Country: USA. Flights: STS-51-F, STS-61-F. Projects: STS. Agency: USAF. Bibliography: 12, 570, 5204.

1943 July 19 - .
  • Birth of Roy Dunbard Jr Bridges - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bridges. American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-51-F..

1980 May 19 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 9 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bagian, Blaha, Bolden, Bridges, Chang-Diaz, Cleave, Dunbar, Fisher, William, Gardner, Guy, Grabe, Hilmers, Leestma, Lounge, O Connor, Richards, Ross, Smith, Spring, Springer.

    The group was selected to provide pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights.. Qualifications: Pilots: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. Advanced degree desirable. At least 1,000 flight-hours of pilot-in-command time. Flight test experience desirable. Excellent health. Vision minimum 20/50 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 vision; maximum sitting blood pressure 140/90. Height between 163 and 193 cm.

    Mission Specialists: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics and minimum three years of related experience or an advanced degree. Vision minimum 20/150 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20. Maximum sitting blood pressure of 140/90. Height between 150 and 193 cm..

1985 July 29 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. Launch Platform: MLP2. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle.
  • STS-51-F - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Acton, Bartoe, Bridges, England, Fullerton, Henize, Musgrave. Payload: Challenger F08 / PDP / Spacelab 2 PLT. Mass: 15,603 kg (34,398 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Acton, Bartoe, Bridges, England, Fullerton, Henize, Musgrave. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-51-F. Spacecraft Bus: Shuttle. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 7.95 days. Decay Date: 1985-08-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 15925 . COSPAR: 1985-063A. Apogee: 337 km (209 mi). Perigee: 203 km (126 mi). Inclination: 49.5000 deg. Period: 89.90 min.

    Manned seven crew. At 5 minutes, 45 seconds into ascent the number one engine shut down prematurely due to a a sensor problem and an abort to orbit was declared. Despite the anomaly the mission continued. Launched PDP; carried Spacelab 2. Payloads: Spacelab-2 with 13 experiments, Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), Protein Crystal Growth (PCG). The flight crew was divided into a red and blue team. Each team worked 12-hour shifts for 24-hour-a-day operation.

1985 August 6 - .
1986 May - .

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