How NASA honored John Young, its most experienced astronaut

How NASA honored John Young, its most experienced astronaut

"Young flew twice to the Moon, walked on its surface & flew the first Space Shuttle mission". Image credit: NASA " NASA and the world have lost a pioneer", said Robert Lightfoot in a statement the day after Young died.

Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., the administrator of NASA, called Young "a pioneer".

John Young died Friday night following complications from pneumonia, NASA said. "He was in every way the 'astronaut's astronaut.' We will miss him".

"John Young was at the forefront of human space exploration with his poise, talent, and tenacity".

Young is the only astronaut who took part in the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programmes.

He's known for all of the experience he had as a NASA pilot - something earned due to more than the number of times he flew to space.

He finally walked on the moon himself in 1972 as commander of the Apollo 16 mission.

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On Apollo 10 in May 1969, he circled the moon alone as Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan came within 47,000 feet of the moon's surface. Young was the first person to orbit the moon solo in the Command Module (nicknamed Charlie Brown), while the other two were aboard the lunar lander (nicknamed Snoopy).

ABC News last interviewed Young in 2003, after the Space Shuttle Columbia accident that killed seven people.

He was the only spaceman to span NASA's Gemini, Apollo and shuttle programmes.

He spent his last 17 years at Nasa's Johnson Space Center in Houston in management, focusing on safety issues. In 1996, he was named the associate director for technical affairs until he retired from NASA on December 31, 2004. Young then entered the U.S.Navy Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, graduating in 1959, whereupon he remained stationed at "Pax River" for the next three years, where he flew in the XF8U-3 Crusader III (later cancelled) and McDonnell F4H Phantom II test programs.

Prior to joining NASA, John Young was a naval aviator and test pilot.

A US destroyer and a stretch of Florida State Road 423 that runs through Orlando, called John Young Parkway, are named in his honor.

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".

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