Dick Covey

Dick Covey 

MS aeronautics and astronautics ’69
Born: 1946
Missions: STS-51-I, 26, 38, 61

A veteran of four space shuttle missions between 1985 and 1993, Richard Covey logged more than 646 hours in space.

Dick Covey

Dick Covey  NASA Bio

As pilot of STS-51-I in 1985, Covey took part in the rendezvous and repair of the ailing 15,000-pound SYNCOM IV-3 satellite. In 1988, he piloted STS-26, the first shuttle flight flown after the Challenger accident. He served as commander of STS-38 in 1990, and in 1993 he commanded STS-61, which serviced and repaired the Hubble Space Telescope.

Covey became an astronaut in 1979, following a distinguished career as a fighter pilot and weapons systems test pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He flew 339 combat missions during two tours in Southeast Asia. He had achieved the rank of colonel by the time he retired from the Air Force and NASA in 1994.

Beyond the shuttle missions, Covey filled numerous additional roles in the space program. He served as mission control spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) for the STS-5, 6, 61-B, 61-C and 51-L missions, communicating directly with those aboard crewed spaceflights and relaying information to leadership on the ground.

After completing his bachelor’s degree at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1968, Covey enrolled in a Purdue graduate program designed in cooperation with the Air Force Academy for students with an interest in astronautics. Covey is one of seven graduates of the master’s program who went on to become astronauts, joining John Blaha, Roy Bridges Jr., John Casper, Guy Gardner, Gary Payton and Loren Shriver.