Former astronaut Robert Crippen has been named to the newly created position of president, Thiokol Aerospace Group.

He will join the company Dec. 2 from his current position as vice president, Training Simulator Systems, Lockheed Martin Information Systems, Orlando, Fla.A Thiokol spokesman said Crippen's new assignment will include direct management responsibility for Thiokol's three propulsion divisions: Space Operations, Defense and Launch Vehicles, and Science and Engineering.

"The appointment of Bob Crippen to this new position enables Thiokol to bring added cohesion and focus to all of the company's propulsion businesses," said James R. Wilson, chairman and CEO, in a release.

"He brings a wealth of experience and strong leadership skills to the Thiokol executive team. Our current propulsion entities . . . will all report directly to the new Aerospace Group."

Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Crippen, 59, was director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, overseeing the processing, launch and recovery of space shuttle missions. His tenure with NASA spanned 26 years including four Space Shuttle flights.

Crippen was pilot of the first orbital test flight of the shuttle program, STS-1. He served 30 years with the U.S. Navy as an aviator.

Thiokol manufactures solid propulsion systems, ordnance, composite products, proprietary fasteners and installation systems. It also holds a 49 percent interest in Howmet Corp., a manufacturer of aircraft and industrial gas turbine engine components.