US Astronaut who walked on the moon dies aged 87

07 January, 2018, 06:51 | Author: Delbert Rhodes
  • US Astronaut who walked on the moon dies aged 87

Nasa said Young died at home in Houston on Friday night following complications from pneumonia.

The former U.S. Navy test pilot was the ninth person to set foot on the moon, an experience shared by three others after Young.

The space agency said Young was the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, and the first to fly into space six times. Young flew two Gemini, two Apollo and two shuttle missions and considered the first shuttle flight the most unsafe. He spent 42 years at the agency, retiring in 2004. It was the first time NASA had ever launched a manned mission without first testing unmanned versions of the same vehicle.

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

US Astronaut who walked on the moon dies aged 87

Remembering Young, Lightfood further said, "I participated in many Space Shuttle Flight Readiness Reviews with John, and will always remember him as the classic "hell of an engineer" from Georgia Tech, who had an uncanny ability to cut to the heart of a technical issue by posing the ideal question - followed by his iconic phrase, 'Just asking...'" During the flight, as they discussed the food provided for the mission, Young handed Grissom the sandwich.

His May 1969 Apollo 10 mission served as a "dress rehearsal" for the historic Apollo 11 mission two months later in which Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. His career was filled with firsts: he was the first to fly in space six times. On his record-setting sixth and last spaceflight, when he flew the first Spacelab module into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle, he both avoided a mid-flight disaster and landed while an auxiliary power unit was on fire.

He never went to space again. In his autobiography, he said he felt responsible for the loss of the shuttles Columbia and Challenger because his crews were on board.

News of his death prompted tributes, including from fellow astronauts who called him a "hero" and "astronauts' astronaut" and from former President George H.W. Bush. After receiving a degree in aeronautical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952, he entered the Navy and graduated from its test pilot school. "He was in every way the 'astronaut's astronaut.' We will miss him", NASA said.

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