NASA Confirms: Famed US Astronaut Who Walked on the Moon Dead at 87


In 1962, John Young was selected as a NASA astronaut from among hundreds of young pilots.

Throughout the next 42 years of his long career with the space agency, Young would become a “trailblazer” in space exploration.

On Friday Jan. 5, 2017, the astronaut sadly passed away in his Houston home from complications with pneumonia at the age of 87.

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Previously a Navy captain, Young piloted the first Space Shuttle mission in 1981. In total, he flew to space six times for Space Shuttle, Apollo, and Gemini programs.

Young was the only astronaut to fly in each of the programs. He was also the “chief of NASA’s astronauts office for 13 years and a leading executive at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.”

Perhaps most notably, Young visited the moon twice and walked on its surface on Apollo 16 in 1972.

Young retired from the Navy in 1976 with the ranking of Captain after 25 years of military service.

He retired from NASA in 2004. The space agency confirmed the news of his passing on Saturday.

“NASA and the world have lost a pioneer. 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,” Administrator Robert Lightfoot said.

“It would be hard to overstate the impact that John Young had on human space flight,” Director of the NASA Johnson Space Center, Ellen Ochoa, said.

“Beyond his well-known and groundbreaking missions through three programs, he worked tirelessly for decades to understand and mitigate the risks that NASA astronauts face. He had our backs,” she continued.

In light of the “fearless” pilot and astronaut’s passing, many others have issued statements — including former president George H.W. Bush.

“To us, he represented the best in the American spirit — always looking forward, always reaching higher,” his statement read.

Fellow astronauts also took to Twitter and other social media platforms to thank Young for his incredible passion for the final frontier and service to his country.

“John Young was at the forefront of human space exploration with his poise, talent, and tenacity,” NASA said in a statement.

“He was in every way the ‘astronaut’s astronaut.’ We will miss him.” John Young, you will forever be a legend. May you rest in peace.

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
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