NAME: Robert Allan Ridley Parker (Ph.D.)
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.
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. Later in the planning process the most likely landing site was the crater Gassendi. Finally NASA cancelled Apollo 18 and 19 on 2 September 1970 because of congressional cuts in FY 1971 NASA appropriations. There was also a feeling after the Apollo 13 emergency that NASA risked having its entire manned space program cancelled if a crew was lost on another Apollo mission. Total savings of cancelling the two missions (since the hardware was already built and the NASA staff had to stay in place for the Skylab program) was only $42.1 million. Before the cancellation, Schmitt was pressing for a more ambitious landing in Tycho or the lunar farside. 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.
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.
Planned Astro-1 shuttle mission. Cancelled after Challenger disaster.
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).