Original Space Shuttle commander John Young dies

Posted January 07, 2018

John Young, an astronaut who became the ninth person to walk on the moon has died.

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.

We mourn the passing of astronaut John Young, who began his career with us in 1962, when he was selected from hundreds of young pilots for our second astronaut class.

Original Space Shuttle commander John Young dies

Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, Mr Young maintained Nasa should be developing massive rockets to lift payloads to the moon to industrialise it, he said, and building space systems for detecting and deflecting comets or asteroids that could threaten Earth. He flew the first space shuttle mission. He eventually became one of the most accomplished astronauts in the history of the USA space program. According to David Hitt and Heather R. Smith in Bold They Rise: The Space Shuttle Early Years, 1972-1986, Young learned that Congress had approved funds for the development of NASA' next big project, the Space Shuttle.

He ended up as one of NASA's most experienced flyers, becoming the first astronaut to fly into space six times, and the only one to enter space in each of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs. Details about his death were not immediately released. To us, he represented the best in the American spirit - always looking forward, always reaching higher.

He hung on for the space shuttle, commanding Columbia's successful maiden voyage in 1981 with co-pilot Robert Crippen by his side.

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The next year, on Gemini 10, Young and Mike Collins completed a dual docking and other manoeuvres as prelude to the Apollo program's quest to put a man on the moon. "May his memory serve to inspire future generations of explorers to dare greatly, act boldly, and serve selflessly".

"Anybody who ever flew in space admired John", said Crippen, a close friend who last spoke to him a few months ago. "We will miss him".

Retired U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly said he was saddened by the loss and called Young in a tweet "the astronauts' astronaut, a true legend".

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He was born in 1930 and grew up in Orlando, Florida. He was graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952 with a degree in aeronautical engineering.

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