Roger K. Crouch

Roger Crouch is an American scientist and a NASA astronaut. He was born Roger Keith Crouch on September 12, 1940 in Jamestown, Tennessee. Crouch grew up participating in the Eagle Scouts of America and went to high school at the Alvin C. York Institute. He then went to attend Tennessee Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in physics in 1962. That same year he became a group leader and researcher at the NASA Langley Research Center, where he stayed until 1985. With his focus still on physics, he continued his education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a Master of Science in 1968 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1971. Eight years later, Crouch went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a visiting scientist.  In 1977, he joined the MSAD flight program as a principal investigator. When he left the MSAD in 1985, he became the lead scientist of the Microgravity Space and Applications Division, and he also took on the role of primary investigator of an experiment that flew in the Materials Experiment Apparatus on the D-1 mission. He also trained as the Alternate Payload Specialist on STS-42 but did not go to space. In 1996, Crouch began to train crews and help with flights, which prepared him for his own flights to space.

On April 4, 1997, Crouch was sent on his first flight to space, as a Payload Specialist on STS-83, which was the first Microgravity Science Laboratory Spacelab mission. Unfortunately, the mission was cut short due to a Shuttle malfunction and after just 95 hours in space it ended. Just three months later on July 1, 1997, the MSL-1 launched a reflight with Crouch again as a payload specialist. This time the mission successfully carried out materials and combustion science experiments before landing back on Earth on July 17. In 1998, Crouch accepted the position of a senior scientist at the NASA headquarters in the Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences. Two years later, Crouch served as a senior scientist for the International Space Station. In 2005, he moved to be a liaison for Higher Education for the Exploration Systems Directorate. During his career, he co-founded the International Microgravity Science Strategic Planning group  and had many of his experiments published.

Crouch is retired from MIT and NASA and now lives in Washington DC with his wife Anne. They have three grown children: Melanie, Kevin and Kenyon. He works as a consultant with various firms and gives inspirational and informative lectures to many different audiences.

Image Caption: Roger K. Crouch, from NASA. Credit: Theon/Wikipedia