U.S. astronaut John Young, who walked on the moon in 1972 and was the only person to fly with three NASA space programs, has died aged 87. Young died Friday night following complications from pneumonia. "He went to space six times in the Gemini, Apollo & Space Shuttle programs". According to media reports, Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich in his spacesuit, a move that didn't sit well with NASA staff in Houston who anxious about the crumbs. "Astronaut John Young's storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight; we will stand on his shoulders as we look toward the next human frontier", NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement.
"John Young has no equal in his service to our country and to humanity's quest for space", said current JSC Director Jefferson D. Howell Jr.
"He was in every way the 'astronaut's astronaut, '" Lightfoot said. As a child, his favorite hobby was building model airplanes. After receiving a degree in aeronautical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952, he entered the Navy and graduated from its test pilot school.
He joined the Navy, serving on a destroyer before becoming a pilot in 1959.
After hearing the president's bold proposal to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth, Young knew what he had to do.
Astronaut John Young, Who Walked on the Moon, Dies at 87
USA astronaut Terry Virts said in a tweet: "Rest In Peace John Young". He flew on the first manned flight of the Gemini spacecraft in 1965 (and led a flight in 1966), traveled to the Moon twice (including a moonwalk during Apollo 16) and played a key role in the rescue of Apollo 13 by helping to stretch out its resources.
In the second trip, Young walked on the moon as part of Apollo 16 in 1972. "The moon is a very nice place", Young said.
Young was also noted as the first ever commander of the Space Shuttle program, leading STS-1 on board of Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981.
He once held the world record for total time spent in space, NASA said.
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