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Astronaut John Young Dead

Astronaut John Young Dead”

Astronaut John Young, a pioneer of the U.S. space program with six spacewalks and a landing on the moon, died at the age of 87, NASA announced Saturday.

NASA announced Young's death on Twitter Saturday afternoon. In 1962, NASA selected him as part of Astronaut Group 2, the second batch of pilots that included Neil Armstrong, Frank Borman, Pete Conrad, Jim Lovell, James McDivitt, Elliot See, Thomas Strafford, and Ed White.

He flew into space twice during NASA's Gemini program in the mid-1960s, twice on the Apollo lunar missions and twice on space shuttles in the 1980s.

Astronaut John Young Dead

In 1981, meanwhile, he commanded the first space shuttle flight.

He eventually became one of the most accomplished astronauts in the history of the U.S. space programme.

In his career, NASA tweeted he "flew twice to the Moon, walked on its surface and flew the first Space Shuttle mission".

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Young, who went to space six times, died at his home in Houston following complications from pneumonia.

Unknown to Nasa, Mr Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich on board. To us, he represented the best in the American spirit - always looking forward, always reaching higher.

Robert Crippen, Young's co-pilot on Columbia's successful maiden voyage in 1981, told The Associated Press that flying with Young was "a real treat". Young and his crew undertook each aspect of that subsequent mission except for an actual moon landing.

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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.

"Anybody who ever flew in space admired John", said Crippen, a close friend who last spoke to him a few months ago.

Remembering Young, Lightfood further said, "I participated in many Space Shuttle Flight Readiness Reviews with John, and will always remember him as the classic "hell of an engineer" from Georgia Tech, who had an uncanny ability to cut to the heart of a technical issue by posing the ideal question - followed by his iconic phrase, 'Just asking...'" He was graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952 with a degree in aeronautical engineering. John leaves a tremendous legacy of accomplishment, in addition to his wonderful family.

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He went on to join the Navy and serve in Korea. He retired at the end of 2004.

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