Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson

Vice President

“We need to be providing young girls with role models as well and inspiring them.”

Why are you supporting Taking Up Space?

I have been proud to contribute to this most worthwhile cause of sparking an interest in science, aviation, and space in young girls, because it is so important to motivate the next generation of women to enter careers in scientific and technical fields. Aviation and space have always been a big inspiration for young people. We need to ensure that this interest is encouraged!

How would someone describe you?

I’d say that most people would describe me as a devoted fan of aviation in all its forms, with an incurable passion for anything that flies. I have been involved in flying all the way up from model airplanes, through private planes, to jet fighters and flight test, all the way to commanding 4 missions on the Space Shuttle.


What are your favorite activities?

My favorite activities are mostly concerned with aviation pursuits. It wasn’t simply a career; it was a total involvement with flight, and the science of flight as well. I build and fly radio-controlled jet models, and I have learned tremendously about aerodynamics and engineering from this pursuit. Aeronautical Engineering has been another passion of mine. It came about as a direct result of my involvement with aviation and space.

Who has influenced you?

My father, Paul Gibson was the biggest influence on my life. He was an Aeronautical Engineer and a Test Pilot, and I knew from the time I was 10 years old that I wanted to be like him. That was why I wanted to enter Engineering as well as the U. S. Navy to be a fighter pilot. My dad was the person that taught me how to fly, and I feel like I owe all my success to his teaching and his influence. We need to be providing young girls with role models as well and inspiring them.

Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?

I’ve had more proud moments than I ever deserved. I’m probably most proud that my mother and father were present for some of my biggest achievements like college graduation, Test Pilot School graduation, and my Space Shuttle missions, and the fact that they were proud of me.

What is surprising about you?

I think most people who know me today would be surprised to learn that I was a fairly shy person growing up. It was only after I was put in positions of leadership, and having so many opportunities to speak to crowds of people, that I overcame my shyness. The experiences that girls will have from Taking Up Space will certainly put them ahead growing up!

Interested in supporting Taking Up Space?