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Former NASA astronaut Alan Poindexter, 50, dies in jet ski accident
[i]Former astronaut Alan "Dex" Poindexter, 50, a space shuttle commander who flew twice into space, died Sunday (July 1) after being injured in a water sports accident in Florida, NASA confirmed.
"The NASA family was sad to learn of the passing of our former friend, and colleague Alan Poindexter who was killed today during a jet ski accident in Florida," the space agency wrote on Facebook late on Sunday evening. "Our thought and hearts are with his family."
According to local media reports citing the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), Poindexter was jet skiing with his sons on Little Sabine Bay near Pensacola Beach, Fla., when the accident occurred.[/i]
[b]NASA Extends Sympathy to Poindexter Family on Death of Former Astronaut[/b]
Former NASA astronaut and space shuttle commander [URL=http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/poindexter.html]Alan "Dex" Poindexter[/URL] died while on vacation with his family July 1 in Pensacola, Fla. A veteran of two spaceflights, Poindexter spent a total of 28 days in space.
Poindexter, a U.S. Navy captain, commanded the STS-131 space shuttle Discovery mission to the International Space Station in 2010, delivering more than 13,000 pounds of hardware and equipment. He was the pilot for shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission that delivered and installed the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory on the station in 2008.
"Alan and I joined the astronaut corps in 1998 and flew together on STS-122, which was truly an incredible experience," said NASA Associate Administrator for Education and former astronaut Leland Melvin. "He was a passionate, caring and selfless individual who will be missed by all."
"We in the astronaut family have lost not only a dear friend, but also a patriot of the United States," said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "He proudly served his country for 26 years as a fighter pilot, test pilot, astronaut and commander of a space shuttle. I am proud to have both flown in space and worked with him for so many years. Dex will be deeply missed by those of us at Johnson and the entire NASA family."
Poindexter earned an undergraduate degree with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and a graduate degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. He was selected as an astronaut candidate in June 1998 and served in the Astronaut Office, Shuttle Operations Branch at Johnson as the lead support astronaut for NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He also served as a spacecraft communicator, or CAPCOM, for multiple missions.
"Dex was a wonderful human being and a pleasure to have in the astronaut office," Janet Kavandi, fellow astronaut and Director of Flight Crew Operations said. "His good-natured demeanor made him approachable to his crews and the many people at Johnson and Kennedy who enabled his missions."
Poindexter retired from NASA and the astronaut corps in 2010 and returned to serve in the United States Navy as Dean of Students at the Naval Postgraduate School.
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