Former NASA astronaut and space shuttle commander Alan Poindexter, 50, died Sunday in a jet ski accident in Pensacola, FL.
Poindexter was a guest judge at Challenger Space Center Arizona for the Honeywell Fiesta Bowl Aerospace Challenge in December. He also related his experience in space for "An Evening with the Crew" event.
"Having him here was such an inspiration to our students, our volunteers and everyone involved in the event," said Kari Sliva, executive director of Challenger Space Center Arizona.
Poindexter, a U.S. Navy captain, spent a total of 28 days in space. He commanded the space shuttle Discovery mission that delivered equipment to the International Space Station in 2010.
He was also the pilot for the shuttle Atlantis that delivered and installed the European Space Agency's Columbus Laboratory in 2008.
"His great attitude and selfless giving were always present. For the space community here in Phoenix, it was most recently evident when he led a group of astronauts to the Valley of the Sun - giving back to the populace during the holidays," said Bill Gregory, pilot of space shuttle Endeavour STS-67 and Challenger Space Center Arizona vice chairman.
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