They are all recipients of the prestigious Order Of Magellan, the highest honor awarded by the historic International Circumnavigators Club, founded in 1902 and headquartered in New York City. This year the honor will go to Hall of Fame Astronaut Robert Crippen during an event to be held in Naples on March 22 at the Naples Sailing and Yacht Club.
This will be only the second time that the Order of Magellan event will be held outside of New York City. The Club has eleven chapters worldwide, and the Naples Chapter is the largest with about 150 members.
Why has the Club decided to hold the event in Naples this year? Tracy Sancilio, Executive Director, explains, “We have a large number of members and friends in Southwest Florida. This will give them the chance to participate in this major Club event without traveling to New York in the winter. Also, we have Chapters in Palm Beach and Miami which will be able to participate. Additionally, many members from New York and elsewhere in the North will be able to enjoy a nice visit to sunny Florida.”
Captain Crippen flew into space four times and has garnered many important honors and awards. He began his NASA career after years as a naval aviator. He has logged more than 6500 hours flying time, including more than 5500 hours in jet aircraft. At NASA, he was the pilot of Columbia, the first orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle Program in 1981.
He commanded three additional shuttle flights, including STS-7 with Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, among the crew. After his mission career, Crippen was stationed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida as Deputy Director in charge of Shuttle operations and later as Director of the Center. Crippen’s accomplishments earned him many notable awards.
Among them are the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the highest award for spaceflight achievement. He is a member of the International Space Hall of Fame, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. In 2016 he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
The Order of Magellan was established to honor individuals who have made a significant contribution to world peace and understanding. The honorees are a diverse group including explorers, journalists, and scientists. Crippen will be the sixth astronaut to be honored by the Circumnavigator Club’s Order of Magellan. Previous space honorees are Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Sally Ride and twin brothers Scott and Mark Kelly.
The Circumnavigators Club is an international organization devoted to bringing together people who have circumnavigated the globe. Its mission is to make the world a better place through friendship and understanding. Since its founding in 1902, many prominent individuals have been members, including magician Harry Houdini, Band leader John Phillips Sousa and Robert “Believe It or Not” Ripley