USNTPS alum bridges two eras

NASA astronaut Doug Hurley holds a unique distinction in the annals of space flight. As the pilot of the last Space Shuttle mission in 2011 and a member of the first crewed flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft that launched to the International Space Station on May 27, Hurley and his fellow astronaut, Bob Behnken, are the first American astronauts to have flown to space in two different types of U.S.-built launch vehicles since John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth in a Mercury spacecraft, flew aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1998. And, like Glenn, Hurley has the distinction of being a graduate of the U.S. Naval Pilot School at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

A veteran of two Space Shuttle missions, including the program’s final mission in July 2011, Hurley was named to the Crew Dragon Demo 2 mission along with Behnken in 2018. Following his graduation from USNTPS, the U.S. Marine Corps veteran was assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 where he served as an F/A-18 project officer and test pilot, becoming the first Marine pilot to fly the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and serving as the squadron’s operations officer.

Another interesting fact: on both his last shuttle flight and his first Crew Dragon flight, Hurley flew from the same location, the historic Launch Complex 39A, from which the first Saturn V moon rocket launch and the first—and last—space shuttle launch took place. In every sense, then, Doug Hurley’s space saga is truly historic.