Owen K. Garriott, astronaut, dies

Owen K. GarriottSkylab and Space Shuttle astronaut Owen K. Garriott dies at the age of 88. Born in Oklahoma, former U.S. Navy electronics officer Garriott went on to Stanford University to pursue a doctorate, and returned to Stanford to teach physics and electronics until 1965, when he was selected by NASA as one of the first “scientist astronauts” for future Apollo and Apollo Applications Program missions. (Only one scientist astronaut, Harrison Schmitt, flew to the moon before the Apollo program’s budgetary lunar wings were clipped by the Nixon administration.) Garriott first flew to space in 1973 as part of the second Skylab long-duration crew, staying in orbit for a record-setting two months with his two crewmates, and flew as a mission specialist aboard the first Space Shuttle mission to carry the Spacelab laboratory module into orbit in 1983. Both before and after his second and final flight, he was involved in consulting on the ever-changing design for a planned space station, which, after many changes, evolved into the International Space Station. He was the father of Richard Garriott, designer of the Ultima computer adventure game series who later visited the ISS as a space tourist aboard a Soyuz flight; they were the first father/son astronauts in America (preceded only by cosmonauts Alexander and Sergei Volkov).