Spaceflight Now

STS-114 Mission Specialist 2
Stephen K. Robinson
Posted: December 19, 2004

Credit: NASA
PERSONAL DATA: Born October 26, 1955, in Sacramento, California. Unmarried. Enjoys flying, antique aircraft, swimming, canoeing, hiking, music, art, and stereo photography. Plays lead guitar in Max Q, a rock-n-roll band. His parents, William and Joyce Robinson, reside in Moraga, California.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Campolindo High School, Moraga, California, 1973; Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical/aeronautical engineering from University of California at Davis, 1978; Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, 1985; Doctorate in mechanical engineering, with a minor in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University, 1990.

ORGANIZATIONS: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Aerospace Medical Association, Experimental Aircraft Association.

SPECIAL HONORS: NASA Ames Honor Award for Scientist (1989); American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Outstanding Technical Paper Award for Applied Aerodynamics (co-author) (1992); NASA/Space Club G.M. Low Memorial Engineering Fellowship (1993).

EXPERIENCE: Robinson started work for NASA in 1975 as a student co-op at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. After graduation from University of California at Davis, he joined NASA Ames in 1979 as a research scientist in the fields of fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, experimental instrumentation, and computational scientific visualization. While at Ames, Robinson earned masters and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, with research emphasis in turbulence physics, and additional research in human eye dynamics.

In 1990, Robinson was selected as Chief of the Experimental Flow Physics Branch at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, where he led a group of 35 engineers and scientists engaged in aerodynamics and fluid physics research.

In 1993, Robinson was awarded the NASA/Space Club Low Memorial Engineering Fellowship, and was assigned for 15 months to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as Visiting Engineer in the Man Vehicle Laboratory (MVL). As an MVL team-member, he conducted neurovestibular research on astronauts on the Spacelab Life Sciences 2 Shuttle mission (STS-58). Other MIT research included EVA dynamics for satellite capture and space construction. While in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Robinson was also a visiting scientist at the U.S. Department of Transportation's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, doing research on environmental modeling for flight simulation, cockpit human factors for GPS-guided instrument approach procedures, and moving-map displays.

Robinson returned to NASA Langley in September 1994, where he accepted a dual assignment as research scientist in the Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Branch, and as leader of the Aerodynamics and Acoustics element of NASA's General Aviation Technology program. Robinson has logged over 1400 hours in aircraft ranging from antique taildraggers to NASA jets.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Dr. Robinson was selected as an astronaut in December 1994, and reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995. He completed a year of training and evaluation and was assigned to test space shuttle control software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL).

In September 1996, Dr. Robinson was assigned to begin training for shuttle mission STS-85 as Mission Specialist #3. STS-85 (August 7-19, 1997) was a 12-day mission during which the crew deployed and retrieved the CRISTA-SPAS payload, operated the Japanese Manipulator Flight Demonstration (MFD) robotic arm, studied changes in the Earth's atmosphere and tested technology destined for use on the future International Space Station. Robinson's responsibilities on STS-85 included flying both the shuttle robot arm and the experimental Japanese robot arm, and serving as a contingency EVA crewmember. The mission was accomplished in 189 Earth orbits, traveling 4.7 million miles in 284 hours and 27 minutes.

In September 1997, Dr. Robinson was assigned for two months as Astronaut Office representative for flight crew equipment. Robinson was then assigned to the Computer Support Branch of the Astronaut Office, with responsibility for new projects, including a kneeboard computer for ascent/entry use.

In January 1997, Robinson was assigned to mission STS-95 as Payload Commander. STS-95 (October 29 to November 7, 1998) was a 9-day science mission during which the crew supported over 80 payloads, including deployment of the Spartan solar-observing spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope Orbital Systems Test Platform, and investigations on space flight and the aging process with crew member John Glenn. As prime operator of the shuttle's robot arm, Robinson deployed and retrieved the Spartan satellite. The mission was accomplished in 134 Earth orbits, traveling 3.6 million miles in 213 hours and 44 minutes.

In February 1999, Robinson was assigned as the Astronaut Office representative for the Space Station Robot Arm and also as a Capcom (Capsule Communicator), functioning as the voice link between space shuttle crews and Mission Control.

In July 1999, Robinson was assigned as backup crew member for the Space Station Expedition 4 crew. In August 2001, he was assigned to the crew of STS-114. He will serve as MS-2 on the Return To Flight mission during which the crew will test and evaluate new procedures for flight safety and Shuttle inspection and repair techniques.

Flying on STS-85 in 1997 and STS-95 in 1998, Dr. Robinson has logged over 497 hours in space.