[Richard Covey] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: Richard O. Covey (Colonel, USAF)
NASA Astronaut

Born August 1, 1946, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, but considers Fort Walton Beach, Florida, to be his hometown. His parents, Lt. Col. and Mrs. Charles D. Covey, USAF (Ret.), are deceased.

Brown hair; gray eyes; height: 5 feet 11-1/2 inches; weight: 155 pounds.

Graduated from Choctawhatchee High School, Shalimar, Florida, in 1964; received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Sciences with a major in Astronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy in 1968, and a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University in 1969.

Married to the former Kathleen Allbaugh of Emmettsburg, lowa. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene B. Allbaugh, are residents of San Jose, California.

Sarah Suzanne, February 5, 1974; Amy Kathleen, May 18, 1976.

He enjoys golf, water sports, photography, skiing, and volleyball.

Member of the Air Force Association, the Order of Daedalians, the USAF Academy Association of Graduates, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and the Association of Space Explorers.

Awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Department of Defense Superior Service Medal, 4 Air Force Distinguished Flying Crosses, 16 Air Medals, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, 3 NASA Space Flight Medals, the Johnson Space Center Certificate of Commendation, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Haley Space Flight Award for 1988, and the American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award for 1988. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, received the Liethen-Tittle Award as the Outstanding Graduate of USAF Test Pilot School Class 74B, and is a Distinguished Astronaut Engineering Alumnus of Purdue University.

Between 1970 and 1974,Covey was an operational fighter pilot,flying the F-100, A-37, and A-7D. He flew 339 combat missions during two tours in Southeast Asia. At Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, between 1975 and 1978, he was an F-4 and A-7D weapons system test pilot and Joint Test Force Director for electronic warfare testing of the F-15 "Eagle." He has flown over 5,000 hours in more than 30 different types of aircraft.

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978, Covey became an Astronaut in August 1979. He has flown three space flights - STS 51-I in 1985, STS-26 in 1988, and STS-38 in 1990.

Prior to the first flight of the Space Shuttle, he provided astronaut support in Orbiter engineering development and testing. He was a T-38 chase pilot for the second and third Shuttle flights and support crewman for the first operational Shuttle flight, STS-5. Covey also served as Mission Control spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) for Shuttle missions STS-5, 6, 61-B, 61-C, and 51-L. During 1989, he was Chairman of NASA's Space Flight Safety Panel .

On his first mission, Covey was the pilot on the five man crew of STS 51-1, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on August 27, 1985. During this seven day mission, crewmembers deployed three communications satellites, the Navy SYNCOM IV-4, the Australian AUSSAT, and American Satellite Company's ASC-1. The crew also performed the successful on-orbit rendezvous and repair of the ailing 15,000 pound SYNCOM IV-3 satellite. This repair activity involved the first manual grapple and manual deployment of a satellite by a crew member. The Mission duration was 170 hours. Space Shuttle Discovery completed 112 orbits of the Earth before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on September 3,1985.

He then served as pilot on ST5-26, the first flight to be flown after the Challenger accident. The five man crew launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on September 29, 1988, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Mission duration was 97 hours, during which crewmembers successfully deployed the TDRS-C satellite and operated eleven secondary payloads which included two student experiments. Discovery completed 64 orbits of the earth before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on October 3, 1988.

More recently, Covey was the spacecraft commander on STS-38. The five man crew launched at night from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 15, 1990. During the five day mission crewmembers conducted Department of Defense operations. After 80 orbits of the earth, Covey piloted the Space Shuttle Atlantis to a landing on the runway at the Kennedy Space Center on November 20, 1990. This was the first Shuttle recovery in Florida since 1985.

With the completion of his third space flight, Colonel Covey has logged over 385 hours in space.


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