Richard H. Truly

Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Born on November 12, 1937, in Fayette, Mississippi
Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology

About the Man

Truly was ordered to flight school and was designated a Naval Aviator on October 7, 1960.

His initial tour of duty was in Fighter Squadron 33 where he flew F-8 Crusaders aboard USS Intrepid (CVA-11) and USS Enterprise (CVN-65) and made more than 300 carrier landings.

From 1963 to 1965, he was first a student and later an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

In 1965, he was among the first military astronauts selected to the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory program in Los Angeles, California. He became an astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in August 1969.

He was a member of the Astronaut support crew and capsule communicator for all three of the manned Skylab missions (1973) and the Apollo-Soyuz mission (1975). Truly was pilot for one of the two-man crews that flew the 747/Space Shuttle Enterprise approach and landing test flights during 1977. He was then assigned as a backup pilot for STS-1, the first orbital flight test of the Shuttle.

His first flight into space (STS-2, November 12-14, 1981) was as pilot of the Space Shuttle Columbia, significant as the first manned spacecraft to be reflown in space.

His second flight (STS-8, August 30 to September 5, 1983) was as commander of the Space Shuttle Challenger, which was the first night launch and landing in the Shuttle program.

As a Naval Aviator and test pilot, Truly has over 7,000 hours in numerous military jet aircraft.

Truly left NASA in 1983 to become the first commander of the Naval Space Command, Dahlgren, Virginia. He served as NASA Administrator from 1989-1992.

About the Spaceflights


November 12-14, 1981

The flight os STS0-2 marked the first time a manned space vehicle had been reflown with a second crew: Joe H. Engle, commander, and Richard H. Truly, pilot.

It again carried the DFI package, as well as the OSTA-l payload -- named for the NASA Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications -- which consisted of a number of remote sensing instruments mounted on a Spacelab pallet in the payload bay.

These instruments, including the Shuttle Imaging Radar-A (SIR-1), successfully carried out remote sensing of Earth resources, environmental quality, ocean and weather conditions.

In addition, the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm was successfully operated in all its various operating modes for the first time.

Flight Duration: Two days, Six hours, 13 minutes, 12 seconds.


August 30 - Se3ptember 5, 1983

With the launch of STS-8, Bluford became the first African-American to fly in space. INSAT-1B, a multipurpose satellite for India which was attached to the Payload Assist Module-D (PAM-D) motor, was deployed.

The nose of orbiter was held away from the sun for 14 hours to test the flight deck area in extreme cold.

For the Development Flight Instrumentation Pallet (DFI PLT), the crew filmed performance of an experimental heat pipe mounted in the cargo bay; also, the orbiter dropped to 139 miles altitude to perform tests on thin atomic oxygen to identify the cause of glow that surrounds parts of the orbiter at night.

The remote manipulator system was tested to evaluate joint reactions to higher loads.

MIssion Duration: 6 days, 1 hour, 8 minutes and 43 seconds.

Truly's cumulative hours of space flight are more than 199.

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