Astronaut Biography: Robert L. Curbeam, Jr.

Astronaut Biography: Robert L. Curbeam, Jr.
Veteran spacewalker Robert Curbeam poses for a NASA portrait. (Image credit: NASA/JSC.)

NAME: Robert L. Curbeam, Jr., (Captain,U.S. Navy)
NASA Astronaut

PERSONALDATA: Born March 5,1962, in Baltimore, Maryland. Two children. He enjoys weightlifting,backpacking and sports.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Woodlawn HighSchool, Baltimore County, Maryland, 1980. Bachelor of science degree inaerospace engineering from the United States Naval Academy, 1984. Master ofscience degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School,1990. Degree of aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the NavalPostgraduate School, 1991.

ORGANIZATIONS: Member of the U.S. Naval AcademyAlumni Association and the Association of Old Crows.

SPECIALHONORS: FighterWing One Radar Intercept Officer of the Year for 1989, U.S. Naval Test PilotSchool Best Developmental Thesis (DT-II) Award.

EXPERIENCE: Upon graduation from the U.S. NavalAcademy, Curbeam commenced Naval Flight Officer training in 1984.

In 1986 hereported to Fighter Squadron 11 (VF-11) and made overseas deployments to theMediterranean and Caribbean Seas, and the Arctic and Indian Oceans on board theUSS Forrestal (CV-59). During his tour in VF-11, he also attended Navy FighterWeapons School (Topgun).

Uponcompletion of Test Pilot School in December 1991, he reported to the Strike AircraftTest Directorate where he was the project officer for the F-14A/B Air-to-GroundWeapons Separation Program. In August 1994, he returned to the U.S. NavalAcademy as an instructor in the Weapons and Systems Engineering Department.

NASAEXPERIENCE: Selectedby NASA in December 1994, Curbeam reported to the Johnson Space Center in March1995. After completing a year of training and evaluation, he was assigned tothe Computer Support Branch in the Astronaut Office.

He is aveteran of two space flights, STS-85 in 1997 and STS-98in 2001, and has logged over 593 hours in space, including over 19 EVAhours during three spacewalks.

Curbeamserved as a spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) responsible for relaying all voicecommunication between Mission Control and crews aboard the Space Shuttle and International SpaceStation, CAPCOM Branch Chief, and Payloads Group Lead, responsible forrepresenting the crew office in the design, training and operation of on orbitexperiments.

During thespring of 2002, he served as Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety andMission Assurance, at NASA Headquarters,Washington, D.C. Currently, Curbeam is assigned to the crew of STS-116,and serves as the Safety Branch Chief for the astronaut office.

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE:STS-85 (August 7-19, 1997) was a 12-day mission during which the crew deployedand retrieved the CRISTA-SPAS payload, operated the Japanese Manipulator FlightDemonstration (MFD) robotic arm, studied changes in the Earth's atmosphere andtested technology destined for use on the future International SpaceStation. The mission was accomplished in 189 Earth orbits, traveling 4.7million miles in 284 hours and 27 minutes.

STS-98(February 7-20, 2001) continued the task of building and enhancingthe International SpaceStation by delivering the U.S.laboratory module Destiny. The shuttle spent seven days docked to thestation while Destinywas attached. In helping to complete its assembly Curbeam logged over 19hours EVA hours in three spacewalks. The crew also relocated a docking port,and delivered supplies and equipment to the resident Expedition1 crew. Mission duration was 12 days, 21 hours, 20 minutes.

Last updated: January 2006

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  • STS-98 Mission Atlantis: Delivering Destiny to Space
  • Complete Space Shuttle Mission Coverage
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