President HW Bush offers condolences on passing of astronaut John Young

President HW Bush offers condolences on passing of astronaut John Young

epa06421221 A handout photo made available by NASA shows the crew of Apollo 10 (L-R) Eugene Cernan, John Young and Thomas Stafford photographed while at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, USA, 13 May 1969 (reissued 06 January 2018).

NASA announced Young's death on Twitter Saturday afternoon. Young and Crippen flew the first orbital mission of NASA's space shuttle program aboard the Columbia.

Young flew to the moon twice and landed on it once.

He was part of the first manned Gemini mission - with Gus Grissom on Gemini 3 in 1965.

NASA later rebuked Young for the antics, which generated criticism from lawmakers and the media, but his career did not suffer. He helped develop the training protocols for the crews that would fly the space shuttle, and was named Command Pilot for the program's maiden flight with Space Shuttle Columbia in April 1981, spending two days in space.

Mr Young became the first person to rocket away from Earth six times. "Godspeed." When asked about the risk of flying on the space shuttle Columbia for the first time in 1981, Young responded "Anyone who sits on top of the largest hydrogen-oxygen fueled system in the world, knowing they are going to light the bottom, and doesn't get a little anxious, does not fully understand the situation".

President HW Bush offers condolences on passing of astronaut John Young
President HW Bush offers condolences on passing of astronaut John Young

"Anybody who ever flew in space admired John", said Crippen, a close friend who last spoke to him a few months ago. "If we do not consider Flight Safety first all the time at all levels of Nasa, this machinery and this programme will NOT make it", he warned colleagues.

While Young retired from NASA in 2004, he remained a constant figure at the agency, Young remained at NASA until 2004, when he retired at the age of 74.

Young was born on September 24, 1930, in San Francisco and grew up in Orlando, Florida. He was graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952 with a degree in aeronautical engineering. From there, he joined the US Navy, served aboard the USS LAWS during the Korean War, and went on to attend the Navy Test Pilot School. But he was also described as a savvy engineer and a "test pilot's test pilot".

"I got a telegram from the chief of naval operations", Young said in his understated way, "asking me not to do this any more".

Mr Young received more than 100 major accolades in his lifetime, including the prestigious Congressional Space Medal of Honour in 1981.

"John leaves a tremendous legacy of accomplishment, in addition to his wonderful family". "May his memory serve to inspire future generations of explorers to dare greatly, act boldly and serve selflessly".

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