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Beloved Former Dean of Students, Alumnus to Be Honored With Namesake Spacecraft
Photo courtesy of NASA

Beloved Former Dean of Students, Alumnus to Be Honored With Namesake Spacecraft

By Kenneth A. Stewart

The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft S.S. Alan Poindexter prepares for the OA-5 mission to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) at NASA's Wallop Island Flight facility in Virginia. The spacecraft is named in honor of beloved former NPS Dean of Students and NASA astronaut Capt. Alan "Dex" Poindexter.

"Poindexter's intersecting career with several members of Orbital ATK's senior management, his connection to Maryland and the Eastern Shore, and his distinguished military and spaceflight career make him an ideal honoree for the OA-5 mission," noted a press release from Orbital ATK.

The S.S. Alan G. Poindexter will carry approximately 2,400 kg of supplies and science experiments to the ISS. It will be launched into orbit using Orbital ATK's upgraded Antares 230 launch system.

NPS Acting Provost Dr. James H. Newman and National Reconnaissance Office Chair retired Navy Capt. Daniel Bursch both served with Poindexter at NASA, and at NPS during Poindexter's tenure as Dean of Students.

"He was one of the great guys that we meet from time-to-time in our lives. When he ended up here at NPS, it was really a treat," said Newman. "We looked forward to many years of having him here contributing mightily, as he does to all of the endeavors, to everybody's benefit. Dex is still missed."

"[Poindexter] had an amazing combination of personal qualities, usually not found together … professional, kind, competitive, confident, and a keen sense of humor. He fully engaged everyone he met. He was the ultimate family man and I think that passion for his family touched anyone who met him. It was like you were family," added Bursch.

Poindexter earned a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering degree while attending NPS in 1995. He was selected to serve in NASA's astronaut program in June 1998 and went on to fly two space shuttle missions logging 669 hours in space aboard the Atlantis (STS-122) and the Discovery (STS-131).

June Title

June 2016

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