Saturday, April 17, 2010

JOHN YOUNG, Super Astronaut

You know, sooner or later, the Chinese and the Indians are going to want two cars in every garage, just the way we do. If they put fossil fuel cars in every garage, there isn't enough oil on the planet to do that.

I think going to alternative sources of energy is the key to the future of civilization on this planet, because we're gonna run out. ... Nobody's worried about that, but we should be very worried about that.

I think it's really important to get folks educated about these problems ... Earth's geologic history is pretty clear: It says, quite frankly, that single-planet species don't last. Right now we're a single-planet species. We need to fix that.
... John Young

John Watts Young (born September 24, 1930) is a former NASA astronaut and engineer who walked on the Moon on April 21, 22 and 23 1972 during the Apollo 16 mission.
Young enjoyed one of the longest and busiest careers of any astronaut in the American space program. He is one of only three people who have twice journeyed to the Moon, was the first person to fly into space six times (seven if the flight from the Moon on the Apollo 16 mission is counted), and is the only person to have piloted in space four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini spacecraft, Apollo Command/Service Module, Apollo Lunar Module, and Space Shuttle. Young was the second of only three people who have driven the Lunar Roving Vehicle on the moon's surface. He was the first person to orbit the moon alone (during the Apollo 10 mission), and commanded the first Space Shuttle mission in April 1981.




Early life and Navy career

Born in San Francisco, California and raised in the College Park neighborhood of Orlando, Florida, Young became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering with highest honors from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952.[1]
After graduation Young entered the United States Navy. He served as Fire Control Officer on the destroyer, USS Laws (DD-558) until June 1953 and completed a tour in the Korean Seas. He then became a fighter pilot, and in 1959, a test pilot.


NASA career


Project Gemini

Joining NASA in 1962, Young was the first of Astronaut Group 2 to fly in space. (He replaced Thomas Stafford as pilot of Gemini 3 when Alan Shepard, the original commander, was grounded.) Making the first manned flight of the Gemini spacecraft with Virgil Grissom, Young scored another space "first" by smuggling a corned beef sandwich onto the spacecraft - a feat for which he was reprimanded.[2]
Young then trained as backup pilot for Gemini 6, but after the sandwich episode, for a time it seemed that NASA did not know what to do with Young. Other Group 2 astronauts with flight experience were quickly moved to Apollo, while other astronauts such as Scott Carpenter and Gordon Cooper had been sidelined for lesser infractions. The assignment of Ed White, the Gemini 7 backup commander to Apollo created an opening for Young as Commander of Gemini 10. The mission performed the first dual rendezvous with two Agena Target Vehicles, and his pilot, Michael Collins, performed two spacewalks.


Project Apollo

John Young jumps while saluting the American flag. (NASA)
Young was assigned to the backup crew on Apollo 7 and later made the second manned flight to the Moon on Apollo 10 with Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan. While Stafford and Cernan flew the lunar module in lunar orbit for the first time, Young flew the command module solo - the first person to do so in lunar orbit. Young was backup commander of Apollo 13, the troubled mission in which the moon landing was aborted because of an explosion on the service module. Young had a central role in rescuing the Apollo 13 crew by participating in the team that developed procedures to stretch the LM consumables and reactivate the command module systems prior to re-entry.
By rotation, Young became commander of Apollo 16. Young became an enthusiastic student of geology while preparing for the moon mission. Apollo 16's lunar landing was almost aborted at the last moment when a malfunction was detected in the SPS engine control system in the service module. On the surface, Young trod the Descartes Highlands with Charles Duke (making Young the ninth person to walk upon the surface of the moon), while Ken Mattingly flew the command module in lunar orbit. Young set a speed record with the lunar rover but was troubled by the effects of potassium in the orange juice they drank during the moonwalks. He carried with him the badge and flag of the Sigma Chi Fraternity; these are on display at Sigma Chi's headquarters in Evanston, Illinois.
His final assignment in Apollo was as the backup commander on Apollo 17. This almost resulted in his second moon landing when Gene Cernan injured his knee playing softball a few months before the flight. The injury, had it been any more severe, would have resulted in Cernan being medically dropped from the flight and John Young commanding the last two moon landings of Apollo. In 1972, Young became head of the Astronaut Office after the return of Deke Slayton to flight status.


Space Shuttle

After the Apollo program ended, Young stayed on as an astronaut and flew two missions of the Space Shuttle, including commanding the Shuttle's maiden flight, STS-1, and the flight STS-9 which used Spacelab for the first time. Young had been in line to make a record seventh flight to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope, but the Challenger Disaster thwarted NASA's schedule.
Young was openly critical of the administration following the disaster, and in April 1987 was taken out of the Astronaut Office and made special assistant of engineering, operations and safety to the center director Aaron Cohen. It was denied that his criticism of NASA triggered the move.


Retirement from NASA

Young worked for NASA for 42 years and announced his retirement on December 7, 2004. He retired on December 31, 2004 at the age of 74.
Young still attends the Monday Morning Meeting in the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center.[3]


Media portrayals and description

In the 1995 film Apollo 13 Young was played by Ben Marley. In the 1998 TV miniseries From the Earth to the Moon he was played by John Posey.
Young is one of the astronauts featured in the documentary and book In the Shadow of the Moon, the Discovery series When We Left Earth and the documentary film The Wonder of It All.
James A. Michener, author of the 1982 novel Space, has said that Young was "an inspiration".[citation needed]


Awards and honors

He was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1981.
He was awarded the National Space Trophy in 2000.
John Young Parkway, a major highway in Central Florida, was named for him.
He is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and the Sigma Gamma Tau Aerospace Engineering Honor Society. He is also a member of the Georgia Tech ANAK society (considered the highest distinction a student can receive).



  1. ^ Wasik, John W. (April 4, 1965). "Virgil Grissom and John Young: Our Trail-Blazing "Twin" Astronauts". Family Weekly (Sarasota Herald-Tribune): p. 4.,1212947. Retrieved January 28, 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Fuglesang, Christer, Tretton dygn i rymden efter fjorton år på jorden", Albert Bonniers Förlag, Sverige, 200710 (9789185555154).


External links

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