John W. Young

From Academic Kids

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John W. Young in 1986

John Watts Young (born September 24, 1930) is an astronaut who walked on the Moon on Apollo 16, April 21, 1972.

Young enjoyed one of the longest and busiest careers of any astronaut in the American space program. He was the first person to fly into space six times, twice journeyed to the Moon, and as of 2005, is the only astronaut to have piloted four different classes of spacecraft that includes:

  1. Gemini spacecraft (Gemini 3)
  2. Gemini spacecraft + Agena Target Vehicle (Gemini 10)
  3. Apollo spacecraft
  4. Space shuttle

Born in San Francisco, California and raised in Orlando, Florida, Young earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering with highest honors from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952. After graduation Young entered the United States Navy, becoming a fighter pilot, and in 1959, a test pilot.

He joined NASA in 1962, and was the first of Astronaut Group 2 to fly in space (he replaced Thomas Stafford as pilot of Gemini 3 when Alan Shepard, the original commander, was grounded). Making the first manned flight of the Gemini spacecraft with Virgil Grissom, Young scored another space 'first' by smuggling a corned beef sandwich onto the spacecraft for which he was reprimanded. Young then trained as back-up pilot for Gemini 6 but after the sandwich episode for a time it seemed that NASA did not know what to do with Young, as the other Group 2 astronauts with flight experience were quickly moved to Apollo, while other astronauts such as Scott Carpenter and Gordon Cooper had been sidelined for lesser infractions. The deaths of Charles Bassett and Eliott See the prime crew of Gemini 9 created a hole in the astronaut corps so that Young was confirmed as Commander of Gemini 10. The mission performed the first dual docking to two Agena Target Vehicles, and his pilot, Michael Collins, performed two spacewalks.

Young made the second manned flight to the Moon on Apollo 10 with Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan. While Stafford and Cernan flew the lunar module in lunar orbit for the first time, Young flew the command module solo - the first person to do so in lunar orbit. Young was back-up Commander of Apollo 13 in which he had a central role in rescuing the crew by leading the team that devised the makeshift carbon dioxide filters and by rotation became Commander of Apollo 16. In preparation Young became an enthusiastic student of geology. On the mission, the landing was almost aborted at the last moment when a malfunction was detected on the Command Module. On the surface Young - walking on the Moon at the Descartes Highlands with Charles Duke, while Ken Mattingly flew the command module in lunar orbit - set a speed record with the lunar rover but was also troubled by the effects of potassium in the orange juice that they drank during the EVA's.

Young remained an astronaut after the end of the Apollo program, and flew two missions of the space shuttle - STS-1, the shuttle's maiden flight, and STS-9, which used Spacelab for the first time. He had been in-line to make a record seventh flight to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope, but the Challenger Disaster upset NASA's plans. Young was openly critical of the administration following the disaster, and in April 1987, he was taken out of the Astronaut Office and made special assistant of engineering, operations and safety to the centre director Aaron Cohen - it was denied that his criticism of NASA triggered the move.

Young worked for NASA for 42 years, and announced his retirement on December 7, 2004. He retired on December 31, 2004 at the age of 74. John Young is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

John Young Parkway, a road in the Orlando, Florida area, was named after him.

External links

nl:John Young ru:Янг, Джон


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