Legendary astronaut John Young - who twice ventured into space in pioneering two-man Gemini capsules, orbited the moon and then walked on its cratered surface before commanding two space shuttle missions, including the program's maiden flight - has died, ending one of the most storied careers in space history.
Born on September 24th, 1930, Young attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned his degree in aeronautical engineering in 1952. He was an aviator in the Korean War and remained in the Navy as a test pilot until joining the astronaut corps.
"John was one of that group of early space pioneers whose bravery and commitment sparked our nation's first great achievements in space", Mr Lightfoot said.
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Young's impressive career at NASA began in 1962 when he was selected from among hundreds of young pilots to join NASA's second astronaut class, known as the "New Nine". Young died age of 87.
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. The first person to go to space six times, seven if you count his lunar liftoff. Returning to Earth, they set a record still not equaled by a manned vehicle, going 32 times the speed of sound, or 24,816 miles per hour. The crew tested the lander module in lunar orbit without landing it. He spent three lunar nights on the surface and drove more than 25km in a lunar rover.
He flew into space six times during his 42 year career at NASA, including two trips to the moon.
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After his return to Earth, the shuttle would become Young's next focus.
In a post on Twitter, NASA called Young their "most experienced astronaut". John Young was the only astronaut to have participated in the Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle projects. Nasa later rebuked him for the stunt.
"Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer", NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement Saturday. According to media reports, Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich in his spacesuit, a move that didn't sit well with NASA staff in Houston who anxious about the crumbs.
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"He was quite an asset to the space program", Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell said, according to an interview with the Orlando Sentinel when Young retired in 2004.