US Astronaut who walked on the moon dies aged 87

  • US Astronaut who walked on the moon dies aged 87

US Astronaut who walked on the moon dies aged 87

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

Young passed away from complications of pneumonia at the age of 87 on Friday. "But, not content with that, his hands-on contributions continued long after the last of his six spaceflights - a world record at the time of his retirement from the cockpit".

According to NASA, Young went to space six times as part of the Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.

"Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer. Astronaut John Young's storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight", NASA administrator acting Robert Lightfoot said in an emailed statement Saturday.

US Astronaut who walked on the moon dies aged 87
US Astronaut who walked on the moon dies aged 87

Young served in many capacities at NASA including: Chief of the Space Shuttle Branch, Chief of the Astronaut Office, Technical Associate Director and more. "He was in every way the 'astronaut's astronaut.' We will miss him".

Young was born in San Francisco and grew up in Orlando. As a child, his favorite hobby was building model airplanes.

Young, a former Navy pilot, was part of the second group of astronauts the space agency hired, brought aboard in 1962 to add to the original Mercury Seven who'd been selected three years earlier. He was graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952 with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He was best known as the commander of the first Space Shuttle mission, taking Columbia into orbit in 1981.

He then joined the Navy and, after a year's service aboard a destroyer, was sent to flight training. He flew on the first manned flight of the Gemini spacecraft in 1965 (and led a flight in 1966), traveled to the Moon twice (including a moonwalk during Apollo 16) and played a key role in the rescue of Apollo 13 by helping to stretch out its resources. "The moon is a very nice place", Young said. He walked on the Moon in 1972 and piloted the first space shuttle flight, STS 1, Columbia, in 1981. He spent 42 years at the agency, retiring in 2004.