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Former NASA Chief Astronaut
Charlie Precourt joined Orbital ATK in 2005 and currently serves as the Vice President and General Manager for the company’s Propulsion Systems Division, which provides rocket propulsion systems and technologies to DoD, NASA, DoE and commercial users. He leads a workforce of 2,000 employees in engineering, manufacturing operations and program management with a portfolio of programs including NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion Launch Abort System, the US Navy Trident D5 and USAF Minuteman Missile systems, and Satellite Launcher boost propulsion for United Launch Alliance’s Delta and Atlas launch vehicles. Precourt joined Orbital ATK following a distinguished 15-year career with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) where he was as an Astronaut and a program manager in the Senior Executive Service. He also served twenty-three years in the US Air Force, retiring as a Colonel.
Precourt entered USAF active duty upon commissioning from the US Air Force Academy in 1977. He completed US Air Force Pilot Training in 1978 and served as an instructor pilot at Reese Air Force Base in Texas. From 1981 to 1984 he was an F-15 pilot and flight commander at Bitburg Air Base in Germany. He then attended the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB and served as a test pilot on the F-15E developmental test program and later as an instructor at the USAF Test Pilot School.
At NASA Precourt was qualified as an astronaut in 1991, and is a veteran of four Space Shuttle missions. He completed his first mission in 1993 on Columbia and then was the pilot of Atlantis for the first Shuttle docking with the Mir Space Station in 1995. He later commanded two additional docking missions to the Mir Space Station on Atlantis and Discovery. Precourt was also Director of Operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. From 1998 through 2002, Precourt was Chief of the Astronaut Corps, responsible for the selection, training and mission certification of all Space Shuttle and International Space Station crews. Charlie was then appointed Deputy Program Manager for the International Space Station, responsible for the day-to-day management of ISS operations, on orbit assembly and the interfaces with NASA contractors and the ISS International Partners. Prior to leaving NASA in 2005, Precourt was the Program Manager for the Crew Exploration Vehicle, known today as Orion, under NASA’s Space Exploration initiative.
Precourt has accumulated over 11,000 hours of flight experience in 90 different aircraft types. Among the aircraft he has flown are the Spitfire, P-51 Mustang, the Mig-21, L-39, the U-2, several versions of the Cessna Citation, the C-141 and KC-135, the Gulfstream GII, numerous light aircraft and gliders. He built an experimental VariEze and today flies a Piper JetProp. He holds commercial, instrument and CFI ratings. A native of Hudson, Massachusetts, Charlie received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the United States Air Force Academy in 1977. While at the United States Air Force Academy, Precourt also attended the French Air Force Academy in 1976 as part of an exchange program. He earned a Master of Science degree in engineering management from Golden Gate University in 1988, and a Master of Arts degree in national security affairs and strategic studies from the United States Naval War College in 1990.