Robert Cenker is an engineer and aerospace systems consultant. He was born Robert Joseph Cenker on November 5, 1948 and was raised near Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He is married to Barbara Ann, and the couple has three children: Daniel, Brian, and Laura. Cenker earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State, and then he earned another Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers. He is a former member of the technical staff at the RCA Astro Space Division, and during his 18 year service there, he worked in many functions, such as spacecraft assembly, test, and pre-launch operations, as well as satellite hardware and system design. He also spent a couple years with a Navy navigation satellite program.
Cenker was chosen as a Payload Specialist by RCA, and was then approved by NASA to fly on Space Shuttle Mission STS-61-C. He was launched into space aboard Space Shuttle Columbia on January 12, 1986. During the mission, he performed various physiological tests and observed the deployment of the RCA Satcom Ku-1 satellite. After 96 orbits of the Earth, the mission was completed with a landing on January 18, 1986.
Currently, Cenker consults with various spacecraft design, assembly, and flight operations firms.