Its Bitter News time! John Watts Young, the most experienced NASA astronaut ever died on Jan 5th, 2018! It was complication in pneumonia which took the legends breath away. He was born in Sep 24th, 1930 in San Francisco, California to Civil Engineer William & Wanda Young. But he was a lot more than just a talented astronaut. Young was also a engineer, naval office, aviator, test pilot, Moonwalker, Space Shuttle Pioneer & father of two.
Lets take a short look of his long & exciting career!
John Young’s Military Career
Young at only 22 year of age, in 1952, joined military service. He set two world records there, for “time-to-climb” while flying his Phantom II. First, for attaining 3,000 meters (9,843 ft) from a standing start in 34.52 seconds. Second, for 25,000 meters (82,021 ft) from a standing start in 227.6 seconds. He served military for more than 25 years until his retirement in 1976.
John Young’s NASA Career
Young joined NASA in 1962. He replaced Thomas P. Stafford as pilot of Gemini 3 & became first of “Astronaut Group 2“to fly space. That’s not it though! He also became the first to smuggle
corned beef sandwich onto the craft. That’s the other story though, that he was been criticized for this stunt. Some officials said, “Young risked millions of $ of peoples tax by disrupting a scheduled test of space food during the flight”.
He got the opportunity in 1966 to command Gemini 10. It was the first mission to perform a rendezvous with two Agena target vehicles; and his pilot, Michael Collins, performed two spacewalks.
Again, he became the Command Module pilot, this time for Apollo 10. The mission makes him the only guy to fly moon alone. The spacecraft later set the record for highest speed attained by any manned vehicle (with 24,791 mph). This was attained during its return to earth on May 26, 1969.
Its no luck but Young commanded Apollo 13 too. Unfortunately, the mission was troubled due to explosion in the Service Module. This caused cancellation of moon landing.
Its 1972 & Apollo 16 is all set for land to moon. The commanding pilot, John Young, is learning geology while preparing for mission. The mission later makes him ninth to walk on moon.
John Young was the only astronaut with longest NASA career of 42 years. He logged more than 15,000 hours of training in simulators during this time.
Ultimately, Young announced his retirement on December 31st, 2004 at his 74th. However, he still continued to attending the Monday Morning Meeting.
Young was the only person so far to fly six space missions with seven launches. Nobody else achieved this yet!
He’s also the only to have piloted & been commander of, four different spacecraft. This include Gemini, the Apollo Command/Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle.
He was one of only three humans to fly to moon.
John Young published an autobiography, “Forever Young” in 2012.
He was the most experienced astronaut of all time who lived 87 years. Technically, death of such experienced space person is huge loss to astronomy. And after knowing his achievements now, you know that!
We can only wish for him to “Rest in Peace”!