Alan Poindexter, Captain, USN and former NASA astronaut, died on July 1 while on vacation with his family. Born on 5 November 1961, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering with highest honors from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1986 and a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1995. Following his graduation from Georgia, he received his commission and served 12 years as an aviator and test pilot before being selected for astronaut training in 1998.
During his time at NASA, he served as CAPCOM for two missions and lead support astronaut at Kennedy Space Center. He also flew on two Shuttle missions- STS-122 in February 2008, as pilot; and STS-131 in April 2010, as commander. STS-122, on board Atlantis, was responsible for delivering and installing the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station, and STS-131, on board Discovery, delivered over 13, 000 pounds of payload to the ISS.
“Dex”, as he was referred to by his colleagues at NASA, was well-regarded within the Astronaut Office. “Dex was a wonderful human being and a pleasure to have in the astronaut office,” Janet Kavandi, fellow astronaut and Director of Flight Crew Operations said. “His good-natured demeanor made him approachable to his crews and the many people at Johnson and Kennedy who enabled his missions.”
After retirement from NASA in 2010, he went on to serve as the Dean of Students at the Naval Postgraduate School. Captain Poindexter is survived by his wife Lisa and their two children.
“He proudly served his country for 26 years as a fighter pilot, test pilot, astronaut and commander of a space shuttle. I am proud to have both flown in space and worked with him for so many years. Dex will be deeply missed by those of us at Johnson and the entire NASA family,” said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.