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Studio portrait of Roy D. Bridges, Jr.

Roy D. Bridges, Jr.

Former Astronaut, KSC Director (1997–2003) and Langley Research Center Director (2003–2005)

Roy D. Bridges Jr. was the director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) from March 2, 1997, to Aug. 9, 2003. He left KSC to become the director of the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

As KSC director, he was responsible for managing all NASA’s facilities and activities at the Kennedy Space Center related to processing and launch of the Space Shuttle, processing and integrating NASA payloads flown on both the Shuttle and Expendable Launch Vehicles (ELVs), final tests and preparations of International Space Station (ISS) and experiments elements to be delivered to the ISS by Shuttle, and developing spaceport and range technologies to improve safety and reduce the cost of access to space. Kennedy Space Center also is responsible for the acquisition and launch of all NASA’s expendable launch vehicles from launch sites in Florida, California, and Alaska. He managed a team of approximately 1,800 NASA civil service employees and 12,000 contractor employees.

Bridges is a retired U.S. Air Force Major General who held many key space-related roles during his career. 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, Calif. He also was commander, Eastern Space and Missile Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.; and commander, 412th Test Wing, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

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

Official astronaut photo for Roy D. Bridges, Jr., pilot for STS-51F.
Astronaut Roy D. Bridges Jr., pilot for STS-51F, photographed in 1980.

He is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, earning a Bachelor’s degree in engineering science. He received a Master of Science degree in astronautics from Purdue University, Ind.; in May 2001, he received an honorary Doctorate of engineering degree from Purdue; and in May 2003, he received an honorary Doctorate of Science degree from Florida Institute of Technology.

He has received 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, Ga., but grew up in Gainesville, Ga. He is married to the former Benita Louise Allbaugh of Tucson, Ariz. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.