Legendary astronaut, moonwalker John Young has died

Casey Dawson
January 7, 2018

John Young was at the forefront of human space exploration with his poise, talent, and tenacity.

He flew twice during the two-man Gemini missions of the mid-1960s, twice to the moon during NASA's Apollo program, and twice more aboard the new space shuttle Columbia in the early 1980s.

Space agency Nasa said he died on Friday at home in Houston following complications from pneumonia.

He said Young, a former Navy test pilot, was special.

"Astronaut John Young's storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight", acting Nasa administrator Robert Lightfoot said. He orbited the moon and even walked on its craggy surface. He was the only person to fly on all three types of programs.

"Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer".

Young became chief of Nasa's Astronaut Office, supervising training of new recruits and helping to develop the shuttle, the first fixed-wing space vehicle designed for reuse.

The Apollo 16 mission in April 1972, his fourth space flight, took Young to the lunar surface.

Young retired from NASA in 2004. It's not like being in zero gravity, you know. However, that was just one of a series of achievements. He flew the first space shuttle mission.

Legendary astronaut, moonwalker John Young has died

Young showed a reporter the Space Shuttle trainer where astronauts learn how to fly the orbiter.

NASA later rebuked Young for the antics, which generated criticism from lawmakers and the media, but his career did not suffer. He was part of the Apollo 10 crew that orbited the moon in May 1969 in preparation for the first landing later that year.

"The Moon is a very nice place", he had said.

He once held the world record for total time spent in space, NASA said.

He never went to space again.

In his autobiography, he revealed that he felt responsible for the shuttle accidents of the Challenger (1986) and Columbia (2003).

Former President George H.W. Bush released the following statement following his death. John was more than a good friend; he was a fearless patriot whose courage and commitment to duty helped our Nation push back the horizon of discovery at a critical time.

He was born in 1930 and grew up in Orlando, Florida. He eventually became a Navy fighter and test pilot. "He was in every way the 'astronaut's astronaut.' We will miss him", NASA said.

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