CAPT Frank L. Culbertson, Jr., USN (Ret.)
Higher Flight LLC
Vice Chairman, Space Foundation Board of Directors
Born and raised in South Carolina, Frank Culbertson earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. After graduation, he began flight training, earning his wings as a Naval Aviator. He has logged over 450 successful carrier landings and 10,000 hours in over 60 types of aircraft, including the F-4 Phantom, the F-14 Tomcat, and the F-18 Hornet. He is a graduate of the US Naval Test Pilot School, and his assignments included an interservice exchange tour as a weapons instructor pilot in the F-4C at Luke AFB.
Frank was selected for the astronaut program in 1984. He flew as Pilot aboard Atlantis on STS-38 and served as Commander of Discovery on STS-51. He served as Manager of the Shuttle-Mir Program, a part of Phase One of the International Space Station Program, negotiating directly with the Russian Space Agency. Returning to flight status, Culbertson served as commander of the ISS Expedition 3 in 2001. Frank watched the events of September 11th unfold from his orbit 254 miles above New York City and Washington.
After retiring from NASA, Frank served as Senior Vice-President for SAIC and later as a Sector President for Orbital Sciences, Orbital-ATK, and Northrop Grumman Space Systems before retiring from industry. He currently serves on several boards and consults for several aerospace companies. Frank has earned numerous awards including the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Navy and Air Force Commendation Medals. He continues to be an aircraft owner and avid pilot.