NASA Official Biography
Healey retired from the Army as a Colonel in December 1991, after completing over 40 years of active military service.
Healey flew his first space mission aboard Gemini 13 at the end of 1966. He was accompanied on the flight by Air Force Major Anthony Nelson. Following the flight Roger was assigned to the moon base project within the Apollo Applications Program. His Army Corps of Engineers experience made him uniquely qualified among the astronaut corps to deal with the problems of construction on the lunar surface. He was also involved in facilities preparation for the classified 'AGNES' aerospacecraft.
Healey made his first Apollo flight together with Nelson and Navy Commander Winfred Wingate on 24 March 1969. Apollo AAP-1 was a lunar orbit mission that extensively mapped the lunar surface in preparation for later (unfortunately canceled) lunar bases.
The same crew landed on the moon on Apollo AAP-2 in January 1970. They accomplished preliminary site surveying in readiness for construction of the first lunar base. Healey, Nelson, and Wingate had to spend three weeks in isolation after their return, since NASA was still concerned about the astronauts bringing lunar germs back to earth.
Following cancellation of the rest of the Apollo AAP program, Roger was assigned support work on the Skylab project. During the 1970's he was liaison for the astronaut office with the contractors modifying the Saturn facilities at the Kennedy Space Center for the impending shuttle flights.
Although Healey hoped to make a shuttle flight, a controversy in the early 1980's led to him being reduced in rank to Captain. He was to fly as a mission specialist on the 'all Army' STS-71-P flight, but this was canceled after the Challenger disaster. Healey remained listed as an active astronaut, and managed to rise again to the rank of Colonel prior to his retirement in 1991, but was never selected for another shuttle crew.
At the end of 1991 Healey finally retired from NASA and Army service. He, together with his better-known friend and colleague, 'Tony' Nelson, were the longest-serving astronauts in space history.