Owen Kay Garriott was born in Enid, Oklahoma, on November 22, 1930, to Owen and Mary Catherine Garriott (née Mellick). Owen’s middle name was based on his mother’s middle name. He was a Boy Scout (earning the rank of Star Scout), and graduated from Enid High School in 1948, where he served as senior class president and was voted “Most Likely To Succeed.” He received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1953, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. He was also the elected president of the senior class. He later earned a Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in electrical engineering in 1957 and 1960, respectively.
His second space flight was aboard STS-9 (Spacelab-1) in 1983, a multidisciplinary and international mission of 10 days aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. Over 70 separate experiments in six different disciplines were conducted, primarily to demonstrate the suitability of Spacelab for research in all these areas. He operated the world’s first amateur radio station from space, W5LFL, which expanded into an important activity on dozens of shuttle flights, Space Station Mir and the International Space Station, with scores of astronauts and cosmonauts participating.