In 1965, Garriott was one of the six scientist-astronauts selected by NASA. His first spaceflight, the Skylab 3 mission in 1973, set a world record for duration of approximately 60 days, more than double the previous record. Extensive experiments were conducted of the Sun, of Earth resources and in various life sciences relating to human adaptation to weightlessness.
On September 10, 1973, controllers in Houston were startled to hear a woman’s voice beaming down from Skylab. The voice startled capsule communicator (CAPCOM) Bob Crippen by calling him by name, and then the woman explained: “The boys haven’t had a home-cooked meal in so long I thought I’d bring one up.” After several minutes in which she described forest fires seen from space and the beautiful sunrise, the woman said: “Oh oh. I have to cut off now. I think the boys are floating up here toward the command module and I’m not supposed to be talking to you.” As the Skylab astronauts later revealed, Garriott had recorded his wife, Helen, during a private radio transmission the night before.
His Youngest Son
Owen Garroiott’s youngest son Richard flew aboard the Soyuz TMA-13 mission to the International Space Station as a private astronaut, returning 12 days later aboard Soyuz TMA-12. He became the second astronaut, and first from the U.S., to have a parent who was also a space traveler.