1988 alumnus one of first Americans to return to space in 10 years

Col. Robert Behnken, Class of 1988 - Behnken and fellow NASA astronaut Doug Hurley flew on Crew Dragon for the SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station on May 30th. This was the first mission to launch NASA astronauts to orbit from the United States in nearly a decade.
NASA is highlighting the historic flight with a series of news conferences on NASA Television and the agency’s website.


Behnken will serve as the joint operations commander for the mission, responsible for activities such as rendezvous, docking and undocking, as well as Demo-2 activities while the spacecraft is docked to the International Space Station.


He was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2000 and has completed two space shuttle flights. Behnken flew STS-123 in March 2008 and STS-130 in February 2010, and he performed three spacewalks during each mission. A St. Ann native, he earned bachelor’s degrees in physics and mechanical engineering from Washington University and a master’s and doctorate in mechanical engineering from California Institute of Technology. Before joining NASA, Behnken was a flight test engineer with the U.S. Air Force on the F–22.