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Astronaut John Young who commanded first space shuttle flight dies aged 87

Georgia Diebelius

Astronaut John Young who commanded first space shuttle flight dies aged 87
The space agency said that the legendary astronaut had died following complications from pneumonia. (Picture: SSPL/Getty Images)

The ninth man to walk on the moon, John Young, has died aged 87.

Mr Young, who commanded the first space shuttle flight, was confirmed to have died last night in a statement from NASA.

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The space agency said that the legendary astronaut had died following complications from pneumonia.

NASA said Young was the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, and the first to fly into space six times. He was the ninth man to walk on the moon.

He died at home in Houston.

Astronaut John Young who commanded first space shuttle flight dies aged 87
He was the ninth man to walk on the moon. (Picture: Getty)

Young was in NASA’s second astronaut class, chosen in 1962, along with the likes of Neil Armstrong, Pete Conrad and James Lovell.

NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot said: ‘Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer. Astronaut John Young’s storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight.

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‘John was one of that group of early space pioneers whose bravery and commitment sparked our nation’s first great achievements in space.’

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.

He flew twice during the two-man Gemini missions of the mid-1960s, twice to the moon during NASA’s Apollo program, and twice more aboard the new space shuttle Columbia in the early 1980s.

Young spent his last 17 years at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in management, focusing on safety issues.

He retired at the end of 2004.

Original Article

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