Young, John Watts

Young, John Watts,

1930–2018, American astronaut, b. San Francisco. A Navy test pilot, he joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's astronaut program in 1962. Young served as pilot of Gemini 3 (Mar. 23, 1965), command pilot of Gemini 10 (July 18–21, 1966), command-module pilot of the Apollo 10 lunar-orbit mission (May 18–26, 1969), and commander of the Apollo 16 lunar-landing mission (Apr. 16–27, 1972), during which he became the ninth person to walk on the moon. When he commanded the first orbital test flight of the space shuttle Columbia (Apr. 12–14, 1981), he became the first astronaut to fly in space five times. Two years later he again commanded the Columbia (Nov. 28–Dec. 8, 1983), becoming the first astronaut to fly six space missions. He was chief astronaut from 1974 to 1987, and retired in 2004.

Young, John Watts


Born Sept. 24, 1930, in San Francisco. US pilot and astronaut. Captain in the US Navy.

After receiving a bachelor of science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Young began his service in the navy. He was a test pilot from 1959 to 1962. In 1962 he set world time-to-climb records in a fighter plane for altitudes of 3 km and 25 km. In the same year he was named to the astronaut corps of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

On Mar. 23, 1965, Young was V. Grissom’s copilot aboard the Gemini 3 spacecraft, which made three orbits around the earth. The flight lasted 4 hr 53 min. Young flew with M. Collins from July 18 to July 21, 1966, as commander of the Gemini 10 spacecraft. During its mission, which lasted 70 hr 46 min, Gemini 10 docked with Agena 10 and rendezvoused with Agena 8.

Between May 18 and May 26, 1969, Young flew to the vicinity of the moon as the pilot of the Apollo 10 command and service module; the other crew members were T. Stafford and E. Cernan. The module remained in low lunar orbit for 61 hr 40 min. On its 32nd orbit, Apollo 10 began the return journey to earth. The mission lasted 192 hr 3 min.

Between Apr. 16 and Apr. 27, 1972, as commander of the Apollo 16 spacecraft, Young flew to the moon with C. Duke and T. Mattingly. Carrying Young and Duke, the craft’s lunar module landed on the moon’s surface on April 21, in the Descartes region. Young spent 71 hr 2 min on the moon, including three excursions outside the lunar module that totaled 20 hr 14 min. Young and Duke used a lunar rover for moving about the surface.

During his four flights into space, Young accrued 533 hr 33 min of flight time.


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