Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
John W. Young
Young enjoyed one of the longest and busiest careers of any astronaut in the American space program. He was the first person to fly into space six times, twice journeyed to the Moon, and as of 2004, is the only astronaut to have piloted four different classes of spacecraft that includes:
- Gemini spacecraft (Gemini 3)
- Gemini spacecraft + Agena Target Vehicle (Gemini 10)
- Apollo spacecraft
- Space shuttle
Born in San Francisco, California and raised in Orlando, Florida, Young earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering with highest honors from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952. After graduation Young entered the United States Navy, becoming a fighter pilot, and in 1959, a test pilot.
He joined NASA in 1962, and flew on Gemini 3, Gemini 10, Apollo 10, Apollo 16, and two space shuttle missions, STS-1, the first shuttle mission, and STS-9, the first shuttle flight with the Spacelab laboratory. Young was the first of Astronaut Group 2 to be selected for a flight and also scored a space 'first' by smuggling a corned beef sandwich onto the spacecraft for which he was reprimanded. Young then trained as back-up pilot for Gemini 6 but after the sandwich episode for a time it seemed that NASA did not know what to do with Young as the 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 deaths of Charles Bassett and Eliott See the prime crew of Gemini 9 created a hole in the astronaut corps so that Young was confirmed for Gemini 10 in which as Command Pilot his mission saw the first dual docking. Young worked for NASA for 42 years, remaining on the active astronaut roster for the entire time. After spending the last two decades working in office jobs for NASA, he announced his retirement on December 7, 2004. He retired on December 31, 2004 at the age of 74.
- NASA biography of John Young
- The Big Picture: Ways to Mitigate or Prevent Very Bad Planet Earth Events Essay by John Young
- Conversation With John Young Houston Chronicle (December 17, 2004)
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