NASA Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa said, "It would be hard to overstate the impact that John Young had on human space flight". Young flew two Gemini, two Apollo and two shuttle missions and considered the first shuttle flight the most risky. John Young was the only astronaut to have participated in the Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle projects.
"Astronaut John Young's storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight", Lightfoot said, adding, "He was in every way the 'astronaut's astronaut". He was also a recipient of more than 80 other major awards, according to NASA. He orbited the moon and even walked on its craggy surface. It's not like being in zero gravity, you know.
He was the first of his group to fly in space: He and Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom made the first manned Gemini mission in 1965.
Young showed a reporter the Space Shuttle trainer where astronauts learn how to fly the orbiter.
Counting his takeoff from the moon in 1972 as commander of Apollo 16, Young's blastoff tally stood at seven, for decades a world record. 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".
That mission in 1981 was the first time NASA sent a vehicle into space with people on board without a prior unmanned launch. His career was filled with firsts: he was the first to fly in space six times.
He never went to space again.
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". In his autobiography, he said he felt responsible for the loss of the shuttles Columbia and Challenger because his crews were on board.
Young was born in San Francisco and grew up in Orlando. After receiving a degree in aeronautical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952, he entered the Navy and graduated from its test pilot school. "We will miss him".
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