Published: Sun, January 07, 2018
Research | By Jennifer Evans

US Astronaut who walked on the moon dies aged 87

He commanded the Apollo 16 mission to the moon in 1972.

John Young, one of only 12 humans to walk on the moon and commander of Nasa's first space shuttle mission, has died.

Young died Friday night from pneumonia. Young was also on the first Space Shuttle mission in 1981. A memo he had sent three weeks earlier, leaked to the media after the tragedy, criticised Nasa for compromising protection to meet launch schedules. The world needs it. Civilisation needs it", he said in 2000, adding "I don't need it. Not many people argued with Young.

Young orbited the moon on Apollo 10 in May 1969 in preparation for the Apollo 11 landing that was to follow.

In 1972, as the commander of Apollo 16, Mr.

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

At one point, the moon buggy's fender fell off, forcing Mr.

Once the USA had beaten the Soviet Union's cosmonauts to the moon and funding dried up, Young pushed Nasa to return to the moon or venture to Mars, to provide the human race with a backup home in the event of Earth's destruction. He continues to advocate the development of the technologies that will allow us to live and work on the Moon and Mars.

Mr Young remained an active astronaut into his early 70s and held on to his role as Nasa's conscience until his retirement in 2004.

Soon after joining the astronaut corps in 1962, Mr.

He acknowledged being haunted by the deaths of the two shuttle crews and of close friend Grissom, killed with two other astronauts in the 1967 fire during a test countdown for what was to have been Apollo 1. From May 1987 to February 1996, Young served as Special Assistant to the Director of JSC for Engineering, Operations, and Safety. Young vowed never to stay silent again.

In his autobiography, he revealed that he felt responsible for the shuttle accidents of the Challenger (1986) and Columbia (2003). He was a stickler for safety, which benefited and exasperated Nasa officials.

"There is only one driving reason that such a potentially unsafe system would ever be allowed to fly - launch-schedule pressure", he wrote. Young's views, but his complaints - and his reputation as a prophet of "doom and gloom", in his words - rankled NASA's top brass.

He feared it would get him fired, Mr Young said.

Within a year, Mr. As the spacecraft reentered the Earth's atmosphere, two of its three auxiliary power units caught fire, and the main computer stopped working. "When we landed, we were 20 minutes behind". Young had taken on its maiden voyage in 1981 - broke apart on reentry, killing the seven astronauts on board.

A space shuttle launch, he wrote in his memoir, "always scared me more than it thrilled me".

Born in San Francisco in 1930, Young joined the US Navy in 1952.

He went on to join the Navy and serve in Korea. He was the ninth person to walk on the moon. In January 1974, he was selected to be Chief of the Astronaut Office, with responsibility for the coordination, scheduling, and control of activities of the astronauts.

His first marriage, to Barbara White, ended in divorce.

Many of his fellow astronauts left NASA to enter business or public service or simply retreated from the public eye. Mr. This was a complete end-to-end test of the Gemini spacecraft, during which Gus accomplished the first manual change of orbit altitude and plane and the first lifting reentry, and Young operated the first computer on a manned spacecraft. Young smuggled aboard a corned beef sandwich.

Young's sixth flight was as Spacecraft Commander of STS-9, the first Spacelab mission, November 28-December 8, 1983, with Pilot Brewster Shaw, Mission Specialists Bob Parker and Owen Garriott, and Payload Specialists Byron Lichtenberg of the U.S. and Ulf Merbold of West Germany.

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