Bridges, Roy D. (1943-) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
Roy Dunbard Bridges, Jr., was born on July 19, 1943 in Atlanta Georgia. The family later moved to Gainesville, Georgia where Bridges grew up. Bridges graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in engineering science from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1965. He then earned a Master of Science degree in astronautics from Purdue University in 1966.
Bridges is a retired U.S. Air Force Major General who 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 served as Director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center from 1996 to 2002. 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 was Director of NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, from August 10, 2003 until October 3, 2005. He 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. He retired from NASA at the end of 2005 to pursue other interests.
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.
Information on the STS-51F Mission
The space shuttle Challenger was launched on July 29, 1985 at 5:00 PM. The major objective of the mission was to verify the performance of the Spacelab systems with the orbiter and to measure the environment created by the vehicle in space. They were also tasked with completing experiments in life sciences, plasma, physics, astronomy, high-energy astrophysics, solar physics, atmospheric physics, and technology research.
The mission lasted seven days, twenty-two hours, and forty-five minutes. The shuttle landed at Edwards Air Force base on August 6, 1985 at 12:45 PM. The shuttle was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on August 11, 1985.