Owen Garriott on the 1973 Skylab mission. (NASA/AP)

Owen Garriott, an astronaut who flew on the first U.S. space station, Skylab, and whose son followed him into orbit, died April 15 at his home in Huntsville, Ala. He was 88.

His death was announced by NASA. The cause was not disclosed.

Dr. Garriott served on the second Skylab crew in 1973, spending close to 60 days in space, a record at the time. He also was part of the ninth space shuttle mission, flying aboard Columbia in 1983 and operating a ham radio from orbit for the first time.

In 2008, Dr. Garriott traveled to Kazakhstan for his son’s launch into space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. Richard Garriott is a computer-game developer who paid the Russians $30 million for a ride to the International Space Station.

They were the first U.S. father-and-son space travelers. Two generations of Russians had previously flown in space.

“Our adult bonding around the experience of space was a rare treasure we shared,” Richard Garriott said Tuesday via Twitter.


Owen Garriott in Kazakhstan in 2008. (Dmitry Lovetsky/AP)

“In 50 years, from my father’s Apollo era to our new commercial era, much has been accomplished,” he tweeted. “Yet, none without the risks undertaken by those early pioneers!”

Owen Garriott was born Nov. 22, 1930, in Enid, Okla. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1953, and then served in the Navy. He received master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1957 and 1960 and taught at Stanford before being selected as an astronaut in 1965. He was among the first six scientist-astronauts picked by NASA.

Dr. Garriott later held other positions within NASA, including director of science and applications at Johnson Space Center in Houston. He left NASA in 1986 and later contributed to books about Skylab and physics.