RELEASE: 94-044 July 6, 1994
SHUTTLE ASTRONAUT RICHARD COVEY TO LEAVE NASA, AIR FORCE
Richard O. Covey (Colonel, USAF), a veteran of four Space Shuttle flights, including last year's mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope, will leave NASA effective July 11 and retire from the U.S. Air Force on August 1.
After 16 years with NASA as an astronaut, Covey is joining Calspan Services Contracts Division, an operating unit of Space Industries International, Inc., as Director of Business Development in Houston.
Selected as a member of the astronaut class of 1978, Covey has flown four times on the Shuttle. He flew twice aboard Discovery on STS 51-I and STS-26, once on the STS-38 mission of Atlantis, and Endeavour's STS-61 flight.
Prior to his first flight, Covey provided astronaut support in Orbiter engineering development and testing. He was a T-38 chase pilot for the second and third Shuttle flights, and served as a spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in Mission Control during several other missions.
His first Shuttle flight (STS 51-I) was in August 1985 and included deployment of three communications satellites and the retrieval, repair and redeployment of another. Covey's second mission (STS-26) in September 1988 was the first following the Challenger accident and included deployment of a NASA communications satellite. The STS-38 mission was a dedicated Department of Defense flight in November 1990 and was Covey's third spaceflight.
Covey most recently commanded the STS-61 mission in December 1993 which included five spacewalks to service and repair the Hubble Space Telescope for the first time.
"Dick's dedication to this nation's space effort is an asset we will miss," said David C. Leestma, director of Flight Crew Operations at the Johnson Space Center. "Since being selected as part of the first group of astronauts chosen for the Space Shuttle program in 1978, Dick has proven his worth to the aerospace community with near unparalleled leadership and will no doubt succeed in all of his future endeavors."
Covey has flown more than 30 different types of aircraft accumulating over 5,700 hours of flight time. Between 1970 and 1974, he was an operational fighter pilot flying F-100, A-37 and the A-7D. He flew 339 combat missions during two tours in Southeast Asia. Prior to being selected as an astronaut, Covey 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 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida between 1975 and 1978.
From Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Covey, 47, graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a bachelor of science degree in engineering sciences and a major in astronautical engineering in 1968. He received a master of science degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue University in 1969.
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