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Astrospies

Secret Astronauts

Truly

Vice Adm. Richard H. Truly
United States Navy

"It's tough to describe how hard we all worked on MOL. But it was a huge part of our lives and, because of how hard we worked, we all learned a lot about ourselves and our abilities."—Vice Adm. Richard H. Truly

Background

Richard Harrison Truly was born November 12, 1937, in Fayette, Mississippi. He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received his bachelor of aeronautical engineering in 1959. In 1964, he attended what is now the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where he later became an instructor.

Career highlights

Following MOL, Richard Truly joined NASA and became a member of the astronaut support crew and capsule communicator (CAPCOM) for all three manned Skylab missions in 1973 as well as the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission. He piloted Columbia in 1981 and served as space shuttle commander during the third Challenger mission in 1983, after which he left NASA to become the first commander of the Naval Space Command. He returned to NASA one month after the tragic Challenger explosion that killed all seven crew in 1986.

Truly became head of the agency for three years starting in 1989. Already a retired vice admiral in the U.S. Navy, he has since held a number of distinguished academic, government, and professional positions.

His decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legions of Merit, and the Distinguished Flying Cross, as well as a host of honors from NASA.

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