Veteran NASA astronaut Alan Poindexter
has left the agency to return to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Poindexter, a US Navy captain, earned a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the school in 1995. He will return to serve as the dean of students and executive director of programs.
"Dex was a well-respected leader within our office," said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "We will miss him being part of our team and wish him the best in his new role as he continues his service to the Navy and the country."
A veteran of two spaceflights, Poindexter logged more than 669 hours in space. In 2008, he was the pilot on the STS-122 space shuttle mission to deliver and install the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station. In 2010, he was the commander for STS-131, a resupply mission to the station that delivered more than 13,000 pounds of hardware and equipment.
He was selected as an astronaut candidate in June 1998 and served in the Astronaut Office Shuttle Operations Branch as the lead support astronaut at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He also served as a spacecraft communicator, or capcom, for several missions.