Retired NASA astronaut Alan Poindexter dies in watercraft accident

Alan Poindexter, 50, a U.S. Navy Captain who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 1998 and made two space shuttle flights, died this weekend in a WaveRunner accident. Before his space career, "Dex" flew combat missions in Iraq, then became a test pilot. He logged more than 4,000 hours of flying time in more than 30 types of aircraft. Snip from Reuters:

Poindexter and his 22-year-old son Samuel were riding on one WaveRunner and his older son, 26-year-old Zachary, was on another, spokesman Stan Kirkland said. "They stopped and apparently Zachary did not see them stop," Kirkland said. "He struck the right rear or the right stern of their personal watercraft. His watercraft went up and apparently struck Captain Poindexter in the back. Both Captain Poindexter and Samuel were ejected."

Both sons survived. More:, Reuters. Image: Poindexter commanding the STS-131 mission.

Below, videos: Poindexter commenting on the end of the Space Shuttle program, in 2010, and on the food astronauts enjoy eating while in space. Also, a NASA TV video recorded during STS-131, and Poindexter "flying" a shuttle simulator.


  1. Wow, so sad. What a horrible thing for his sons to have to deal with. Reminds me of Pete Conrad making it all the way to the moon and back again, then getting taken out in a motorcycle accident.


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