'Space pioneer' astronaut John Young who walked on the moon dies

'Space pioneer' astronaut John Young who walked on the moon dies

Young's Apollo 10 flight in May 1969 was considered the dress rehearsal for Apollo 11 - the famous July 1969 spaceflight that took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon.

United States astronaut John Young, who walked on the moon in 1972 and was the only person to fly with three NASA space programs, has died aged 87.

Young died on Friday night following complications from pneumonia, Xinhua quoted the U.S. space agency as saying.

The American astronaut is also known for having been the chief of NASA astronauts' office for 13 years and Johnson Space Center's leading executive, in Houston.

Young is remembered for being the only astronaut to fly in the Gemini, Apollo and shuttle programs.

He was one of the only three astronauts to launch to the moon on two occasions and was the ninth person to set foot on the lunar surface, according to Space.com. In April 1981, along with pilot Bob Crippen, he commanded the first shuttle flight. Young became the first person to fly four different types of spacecraft.

Young was the only astronaut to have flown into space six times.

In 1982, Young was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame and visited Alamogordo for the induction ceremony on October 2, 1982. "It's very sad to have yet another of America's heroes pass away".

John Young in the cockpit of spacecraft in one his missions. The Apollo 16 crew had come for their visit and they opened it up for the public. He was 87 years old. "I actually shook his hand and the newspaper captured the moment just after shaking his hand".

Former president George HW Bush said he and wife Barbara "join our fellow Americans and many friends in the space community in mourning the loss".

As curator of physical sciences at the Springfield Science Museum, Richard Sanderson is proud to have had role models like John Young and the other Apollo astronauts.

"You don't want to be politically correct", he said in a 2000 interview.



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