Roy Dubard Bridges Jr. (born July 19, 1943, in Atlanta, Georgia) is an American pilot, engineer, retired United States Air Force officer, test pilot, former NASA astronaut and the former Director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center and Langley Research Center.
Bridges served as a NASA astronaut, piloting the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-51-F (July 29 to August 6, 1985).
Bridges became the Director of NASA's Langley Research Center in 2003, after serving as Director of the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC). He retired from Langley and from NASA at the end of 2005. As the senior management official of the laboratory employing approximately 2,100 NASA civil service and 1,800 contractor personnel, Bridges was responsible for the Center’s aeronautical and space research programs, as well as facilities, personnel, and administration. In that capacity, 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.
As Director of the Kennedy Space Center for over six years, Bridges was responsible for managing NASA's only site for processing and launch of the Space Shuttle vehicle; processing the payloads flown on both the Shuttle and expendable launch vehicles; and overseeing expendable vehicle launches carrying NASA payloads. He managed a team of about 2,000 NASA civil servants and about 14,000 contractors.
Bridges, a decorated veteran of 262 combat missions during Vietnam War, is a retired U.S. Air Force Major General who served as the director of requirements, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, from June 1993 until his retirement July 1, 1996. In that position he served as the Command focal point for product management policy, processes and resources.
Prior to his assignment at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Bridges was the commander, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California. He has served in several key leadership positions including deputy chief of staff, test and resources, Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland; commander, Eastern Space and Missile Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida; commander, 6510th Test Wing, Edwards Air Force Base, California.
Bridges grew up in Gainesville, Georgia, and graduated from Gainesville High School in 1961. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he achieved its second highest rank, Life Scout. He is a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Science in 1965. He received a Master of Science degree in Astronautics from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, in 1966.
Awards and honors
|Air Force Command Pilot Badge |
with Astronaut Device
|Air Force Parachutist Badge|
|Air Force Distinguished Service Medal | Defense Superior Service Medal|
|Legion of Merit |
|Distinguished Flying Cross |
with two clusters
|Meritorious Service Medal|
|Air Medal |
with fourteen clusters
|Air Force Commendation Medal||NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal|
|NASA Space Flight Medal||Presidential Unit Citation||Outstanding Unit Award |
with two clusters
|Organizational Excellence Award |
|National Defense Service Medal |
with one star
|Vietnam Service Medal |
with three stars
|Air Force Overseas |
Short Tour Service Ribbon
|Air Force Longevity Service Award |
with six clusters
|Small Arms Expert |
|Air Force Training Ribbon||Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit |
Citation with Palm
|Vietnam Campaign Medal|
He is the recipient of several awards and honors including recognition as a distinguished graduate of Air Force Pilot Training and a top graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, the Presidential Meritorious Executive Award, and a NASA Certificate of Commendation.
Bridges is married to the former Benita Louise Allbaugh of Tucson, Arizona. They have two adult children.
Bridges is an executive with Northrop Grumman Technical Services.