Brother Richard Truly, former astronaut, celebrates 79th birthday

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Truly became the first grandfather to fly in space during a 1981 mission; he was 44 at the time. In an interview with the New York Times that year, Truly said that the food on the space shuttle Columbia was good, but that he nevertheless wouldn’t have cared if it wasn’t because he loved his mission.

“We could put up with any food as long as it would keep us going,” Truly told the Times. “But we are fortunate to have good meals planned every day.”

Following another trip to space in 1983 – he was the commander on the STS-8 Challenger mission – Truly left NASA for the Naval Space Command, where he was named its first commander.

Truly returned to NASA shortly after the Challenger disaster in 1986. He helped get the space shuttle program running again.

Thanks to his work and experience at NASA, Truly was named the NASA Administrator by President George H.W. Bush in 1989; he was the eighth administrator in the agency’s history, and he held that position until 1992.

Now retired, Truly is married to the former Colleen Hanner. They have three children.


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