Astronaut Administrator Richard Truly
(October 1, 1979) Astronaut Richard H. Truly, pilot of the Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-2 and Commander of Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-8, became NASA's eighth Administrator on July 1, 1989. One day earlier he concluded a 30 year Naval career retiring as a Vice Admiral. He was the first astronaut to head the nation's civilian space agency. Truly became Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Flight on February 20, 1986. In this position, he led the painstaking rebuilding of the Space Shuttle program less than one month after the Challenger disaster. This was highlighted by the much heralded "Return to Flight" on September 29, 1988 with the launch of Shuttle Discovery, 32 months after Challenger's final flight. On February 12th, 1992 Richard Truly resigned as NASA Administrator at the request of President George Bush...Image # : S79-36527
NASA Photo Collection
The Space Shuttle program was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011, administered by NASA and officially beginning in 1972. The Space Shuttle system—composed of an orbiter launched with two reusable solid rocket boosters and a disposable external fuel tank— carried up to eight astronauts and up to 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) of payload into low Earth orbit (LEO). When its mission was complete, the orbiter would re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and lands as a glider. Although the concept had been explored since the late 1960s, the program formally commenced in 1972 and was the focus of NASA's manned operations after the final Apollo and Skylab flights in the mid-1970s. It started with the launch of the first shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981, on STS-1. and finished with its last mission, STS-135 flown by Atlantis, in July 2011.