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'Fearless' astronaut John Young dies at 87
January 21 2018, 12:27 | Irvin Gilbert
Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle astronaut John Young has passed away
Young's first time in space came in 1965 with the Gemini 3 mission that took him and astronaut Gus Grissom into Earth orbit in the first two-man USA space jaunt. Together, they orbited Earth three times, testing thrusters that allowed the crew to maneuver in space, and was later reprimanded for smuggling a corn beef sandwich for the ride.
While Young retired from NASA in 2004, he remained a constant figure at the agency, Young remained at NASA until 2004, when he retired at the age of 74.
Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield echoed that on Twitter, saying "John Young is one of my heroes, an astronaut's astronaut, a fearless individual and a good friend". Young then participated in the Gemini 3 mission (1965), before ordering Gemini 10 (1966), flying in orbit around the Moon with Apollo 10 (1969) and landing there with Apollo 16 in 1972.
"Barbara and I join our fellow Americans and many friends in the space community in mourning the loss of astronaut John Young", Bush said in a statement.
Young flew two Gemini, two Apollo and two shuttle missions and considered the first shuttle flight the most risky.
Young, a Navy Test Pilot, was selected as an astronaut in 1962.
The next year, on Gemini 10, Young and Mike Collins completed a dual docking and other maneuvers as prelude to the Apollo program's quest to put a man on the moon. "He was in every way the 'astronaut's astronaut.' We will miss him".
Young finally walked on the moon himself in 1972 as commander of the Apollo 16 mission - the ninth of 12 people to have ever set foot on the lunar surface.
His sixth and final flight came in November 1983, when he commanded Columbia on the STS-9 mission, which tested out a variety of scientific experiments with the Spacelab module.
Young flew to the moon twice and landed on it once. Bouncing along the lunar surface in a four-wheeled rover, he and Charlie Duke collected 200 pounds of rock specimens.
After his return to Earth, the shuttle would become Young's next focus.
In 1981, meanwhile, he commanded the first space shuttle flight. He lived in the suburbs of Houston (Texas, South), near the NASA Space Center. He served as chief of NASA's astronaut corps from 1974 to 1987, overseeing 25 shuttle flights during the program's formative years.
Born in San Francisco in 1930, Young gained a degree in aeronautical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and then served in the US Navy as a test pilot.