Robert A. R. Parker

Born December 14, 1936, in New York City, NY
BA in astronomy and physics from Amherst College
Doctorate of philosophy in astronomy from California Institute of Technology

About the Man

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.

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 on STS-35 (Dec 2-10, 1990) which featured the ASTRO-1 ultraviolet astronomy laboratory.

Dr. Parker was the Director of the Division of Policy and Plans for the Office of Space Flight at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. 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 to August 2005 he served as Director of the NASA Management Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. Dr. Parker retired from NASA on August 31, 2005.

About the Spaceflights


November 28 to December 8, 1983

Flight carried first Spacelab mission and first astronaut to represent European Space Agency (ESA), Ulf Merbold of Germany. ESA and NASA jointly sponsored Spacelab-1 and conducted investigations which demonstrated capability for advanced research in space. Spacelab is an orbital laboratory and observations platform composed of cylindrical pressurized modules and U-shaped unpressurized pallets which remain in orbiter's cargo bay during flight. Altogether 73 separate investigations carried out in astronomy and physics, atmospheric physics, Earth observations, life sciences, materials sciences, space plasma physics and technology.

First time six persons carried into space on a single vehicle.

Flight Duration: 10 days, seven hours, 47 minutes, 24 seconds

Portrait of STS-9 crew in the Spacelab


December 2-10, 1990

Primary objectives for the crew of STS-35 were round-the-clock observations of celestial sphere in ultraviolet and X-ray astronomy with ASTRO-1 observatory consisting of four telescopes: Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment, Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope, and Broad Band X-Ray Telescope.

Flight Duration: 8 days, 23 hours, 5 minutes, 8 seconds

Portrait of the crew of STS-35

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The Original Seven
Honoring America's First Astronauts

NASA's 2nd Group of Astronauts
A Second Group is Chosen

NASA's 3rd Group of Astronauts
Another Group Is Needed

NASA's 4th Group of Astronauts
Eureka! NASA finds its 4th group!

NASA's 5th Group of Astronauts
Pilot Astronauts

NASA's 6th Group of Astronauts
Scientist Astronauts