Legendary astronaut John Young dies at 87

USA 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.

He eventually became one of the most accomplished astronauts in the history of the USA space programme.

Young had flown to the moon twice and walked on its surface, according to NASA officials.

Space agency Nasa said he died on Friday at home in Houston following complications from pneumonia.

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

In 1972, Young landed on the Moon himself during the Apollo 16 mission.

He flew into space twice during NASA's Gemini program in the mid-1960s, twice on the Apollo lunar missions and twice on space shuttles in the 1980s. It's not like being in zero gravity, you know. He helped develop the training protocols for the crews that would fly the space shuttle, and was named Command Pilot for the program's maiden flight with Space Shuttle Columbia in April 1981, spending two days in space.

He once held the world record for total time spent in space, NASA said. When one of the flight instructors objected to media going in with a camera, Young stopped, looked at the instructor, and said "I flew this, I wrote the manual, and that's that".

Legendary astronaut John Young dies at 87

Young returned to space on July 18th 1966 as the Command Pilot for Gemini 10, along with future Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins.

In 1981, he served as Commander of STS-1, the first space shuttle mission, which some have called "the boldest test flight in history".

Astronaut Wally Schirra, who was not flying on the mission, bought the corned beef sandwich on rye bread from a delicatessen in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and asked Young to give it to Grissom in space.

He never went to space again.

Chastened by the 1967 Apollo launch pad fire that killed three astronauts, Mr Young spoke up after the 1986 Challenger launch accident.

"He was in every way the 'astronaut's astronaut, '" Lightfoot said.

Young was born on September 24, 1930, in San Francisco and grew up in Orlando, Florida. From there, he joined the US Navy, served aboard the USS LAWS during the Korean War, and went on to attend the Navy Test Pilot School.

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  • Megan Austin