July 3, 2012
Former Astronaut Alan Poindexter Dies In Jet Ski Accident
Former astronaut Alan G. Poindexter, who flew on space shuttle missions to the International Space Station, died on Sunday.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said 51-year-old Poindexter died while riding on a jet ski with his 22-year-old son.
According to a report by the Pensacola News Journal, Zachary Poindexter, his other 26-year-old son, ran into the rear of the other watercraft, knocking his father into the water.
Poindexter was pulled from the water and taken to the beach, where friends tried performing CPR, wildlife agency spokesman Stan Kirkland said.
He was flown to Baptist Hospital by helicopter, where he died shortly afterwards due to injuries, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
Zachary Poindexter and his brother Samuel were not injured during the accident.
Poindexter flew on two space flights to the ISS during his career with NASA. He piloted space shuttle Atlantis in February 2008 on mission STS-122 to deliver the European Space Agency’s Columbus Laboratory. He also commanded space shuttle Discovery in April 2010 on one of the final cargo runs to the station before the shuttles were retired.
Poindexter acted as a lead CAPCOM for the STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope in May 2009, as well as the launch CAPCOM for the STS-127 mission in July 2009.
“The NASA family was sad to learn of the passing of our former friend and colleague Alan Poindexter,” NASA wrote in a Facebook post. “Our thought and hearts are with his family.”
Astronauts went on to the social media world to express their condolences, and remember Poindexter, who was referred to as “Dex.”
“He was a talented, courageous Navy veteran with gifts,” astronaut Greg Johnson wrote on Twitter. “Dex was a lovable guy with a strong work ethic.”
He was born in 1961 in Pasadena, California, and earned a bachelor of aerospace engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Poindexter flew combat missions to Iraq during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Southern Watch, and then became a test pilot.
He was selected to join NASA’s astronaut corps back in June 1998.
Image Credit: NASA