Astronaut Frank Culbertson (Capt, USN, Ret.), is an American former naval aviator, test pilot, aerospace engineer and executive, and NASA astronaut. He recently retired as President of the Space Systems Group at Northrop Grumman and is currently consulting and supporting educational programs. He served as the Commander of the International Space Station for almost four months in 2001 and was the only American not on Earth when the September 11 attacks occurred. A veteran of three space flights: Pilot of STS-38, Commander of STS-51 (making the first night landing of the shuttle at Kennedy Space Center), and Commander of ISS Expedition 3, Culbertson has logged over 144 days in space and performed one EVA (space walk).
Culbertson is a member of a number of organizations, including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Full Fellow), the Association of Naval Aviators, the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, the Aviation Boatswains Mates Association, and the Association of Space Explorers. Culbertson has received numerous awards, including the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, 3 NASA Space Flight Medals, Navy Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, and various other unit and service awards. He is a Distinguished Graduate, U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He has been awarded Honorary Doctor of Science Degrees from the College of Charleston, 1994, and Lander University, 1999; he has also been awarded the Komarov Certificate and the Gagarin Gold Medal for Space Flight Achievement, 1994, the AAS Flight Achievement Award for STS-51, 1994, Aviation Week & Space Technology 1997 Laurel for Achievement in Space, IEEE/ASME Award for Manager of the Year, 1997, and the Space Center Rotary Club Stellar Award for 1998. He has also been inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame.
Prior to the acquisition by Northrop, Culbertson was President of Space Systems Group at Orbital ATK, and served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Advanced Programs Group at the Orbital Sciences Corp. Prior to joining Orbital, Mr. Culbertson was a Senior Vice President at SAIC, following an eighteen-year career as a NASA astronaut. Mr. Culbertson also held several key management positions within NASA including manager of the Shuttle-Mir program 1995-1998. Mr. Culbertson is a 1971 graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. He retired from the Navy as a Captain in 1997 and retired from NASA in 2002.