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NASA Honors Life of Former Administrator, Astronaut Richard Truly 

Former NASA Administrator and astronaut, Richard Truly.

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on former NASA Administrator and astronaut Richard Truly, who passed away Feb. 27, 2024, at his home in Genesee, Colorado, at the age of 86.

“NASA is the place it is today because of people of character, vision, and a spirit of service – people like the great man we lost Feb. 27, former NASA administrator, associate administrator, and astronaut Richard Truly.

“In his decades of service – to the Navy, to NASA, to his country – Richard lifted ever higher humanity’s quest to know the unknown and to achieve the impossible dream.

“Across his 30 years in the Navy, Richard served as a test pilot and naval aviator, making more than 300 aircraft carrier landings. Richard rose from the role of ensign to vice admiral.

“As an astronaut, Richard was part of the crew for the Approach and Landing Tests of the space shuttle Enterprise. He piloted space shuttle Columbia during STS-2, the first piloted spacecraft reflown in space, and commanded space shuttle Challenger during STS-8 – the first night launch and landing of its era.

“As associate administrator, after the Challenger crisis, Richard brought NASA to its first liftoff and return to flight. He led the Space Shuttle Program to once again take to the skies and reach for the stars. He understood no matter what difficulties we endure, there is only one direction for humanity and NASA: forward.

“As NASA administrator, it also was under Richard’s leadership and judgment that Voyager 1 turned Earthward and took a final picture of our beautiful planet as it floated 3.7 billion miles away. It was the picture that became known as the ‘Pale Blue Dot.’ This is to say that as administrator, Richard’s vision was bold and broad. Humanity is all the better for that vision.

“Woven through these accolades, tests, and triumphs was Richard’s poise as a leader and vision as a pioneer.

“Richard had the makings of someone who understood that we choose to do great things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. He was a personal friend and a mentor to so many of us. I share my deep condolences with Richard’s wife, Cody, and their three children. I invite all those who care for humanity’s quest to reach ever higher to join me in saying farewell to a great public servant.”

For more information about Truly’s NASA career, and his agency biography, visit:


Faith McKie / Cheryl Warner
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1600 /