NASA yesterday confirmed that 87-year-old former astronaut John Young had died.
NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot said: ‘Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer. Astronaut John Young’s storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight.’
But, who was he and what were his many achievements?
John Young was born on September 24th 1930 in San Francisco.
He was an aeronatical engineer and a member of the US Navy, but was most well-known for his time as an astronaut for NASA.
Young had the longest career of any astronaut and was the first person to fly six space missions and the ninth to walk on the moon.
As well as this, he was the only person to have piloted, and been commander of, four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini, the Apollo Command/Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle.
One of the highlights of Young’s career was flying the first manned space shuttle Gemini in 1965, even sneaking a corned beef sandwich onto the craft, which he was told off for.
He was part of NASA’s second astronaut class alongside Neil Armstrong, Pete Conrad and James Lovell, and also part of the Apollo 10 crew that first orbited the moon in May 1969.
Having spent 835 hours in space, Young additionally served as chief astronaut from January 1974 until May 1987.
After he stopped flying into space, he remained at NASA headquarters for 17 years where he used his engineering knowledge to improve safety measures on shuttles, retiring in 2004.
Young passed away at his home in Houston due to complications from pneumonia, leaving behind his wife Susy Feldman and two children from a previous marriage, Sandra and John.
Lightfoot also said of Young: ‘We will stand on his shoulders as we look toward the next human frontier.’