The board of directors for the Space Foundation, a Colorado Springs-based nonprofit, voted unanimously to select retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Richard Truly as the 2016 recipient of the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award.
The award is the Space Foundation’s highest honor and will be presented to Truly during a special industry luncheon on April 13, during the 32nd annual Space Symposium at The Broadmoor, according to a foundation news release.
Truly, a former pilot and astronaut for both the U.S. Air Force and NASA, made more than 300 carrier landings and has logged more than 7,000 hours in numerous military jet aircraft. He also was an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California and went on to serve as the eighth administrator of NASA.
“From his leadership of military space endeavors like the Manned Orbiting Lab (MOL) program, and Naval Space Command, to pilot and test pilot achievements including the early space shuttle flights, to leading NASA back to flight after the loss of Challenger, Dick Truly has quietly and humbly led the U.S. space program through some of its most important moments,” Space Foundation CEO Elliot Pulham said in the release. “Few exemplify a lifetime of space achievement better than Dick Truly, and we are humbled by the opportunity to recognize his contributions to the exploration, development and utilization of space.”
After leaving NASA in 1992, Truly led the Georgia Tech Research Institute from 1992 to 1997, and then the National Renewable Energy Laboratory from 1997 to 2005. He also served on the Space Foundation’s board of directors from 2003 to 2009.
“Truly was credited by Carl Sagan with interceding in an internal dispute regarding whether Voyager 1 should be commanded to take one last photograph of Earth before completing its primary mission,” according to the release. “The resultant photograph has since become known as the Pale Blue Dot photograph.”