Legendary US Astronaut John Young Has Died At Age 87
Jan 10 2018 by Michele Stevens
In 1981, John Youngcommanded the very first Space Shuttle orbital mission, STS-1. Doubts were expressed as to whether the cost of a fifth American moon landing was justified, and the astronauts themselves wanted to counter such misgivings by landing in the rugged Aristarchus area near the lunar south pole.
After two days and six hours, they landed a spacecraft for the first time on land instead of water - at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California. When one of the flight instructors objected to media going in with a camera, Young stopped, looked at the instructor, and said "I flew this, I wrote the manual, and that's that".
He was the only spaceman to span NASA's Gemini, Apollo and shuttle programmes.
Young spent his last 17 years at Johnson Space Center in Houston in management, focusing on safety issues.
He retired from NASA in December 2004.
Born in San Francisco in 1930, Young joined the US Navy in 1952.
After graduation, he entered the U.S. Navy, including serving on the destroyer USS Laws in the Korean War.
Prior to joining NASA, John Young was a naval aviator and test pilot. But seeing "John Young" was actually rarer.
Former President George H.W. Bush said Young was "more than a good friend; he was a fearless patriot whose courage and commitment to duty helped our nation push back the horizon of discovery at a critical time".