MIAMI – The death of astronaut John Young, the ninth man to walk on the moon and who traveled into space six times as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle missions, was reported by NASA this Saturday. He was 87.
“We’re saddened by the loss of astronaut John Young,” the US space agency said in a statement, without mentioning where or why he passed away.
NASA recalled that Young, who was born in San Francisco, flew twice to the moon, walked on its surface and commanded the first space shuttle mission.
Other US astronauts mourned Young’s death, including Scott Kelly who called him “a true legend.”
“Rest In Peace John Young. You were one of my heroes as an astronaut and explorer and your passion for space will be missed,” said for his part former astronaut Terry W. Virts.
Young, an aerospace engineer, pilot and former naval officer, commanded the Apollo 16 mission to the moon in 1972 and nine years later inaugurated the space shuttle program.
He had a long career as an astronaut – more than 42 years – during which he made six space voyages and was the only astronaut to have been pilot and commander on four different classes of spaceships.
The Californian retired from NASA in 2004.