Astronaut John Young dies at 87

Astronaut John Young dies at 87

The astronaut John Young, who walked on the moon and commanded the first space shuttle flight, has died.

Even after leaving NASA in 2004, he worked to keep the space flame alive, noting in his official NASA biography that he was continuing to advocate the development of technologies "that will allow us to live and work on the moon and Mars".

Young made his first flight as an astronaut in 1965, joining astronaut Gus Grissom on Gemini 3, the first manned flight of the early NASA human spaceflight programme that helped the agency get ready for the Apollo moon landings.

Young died on Friday night following complications from pneumonia, Xinhua quoted the USA space agency as saying. Stay with News 6 and for updates. Three years later he was selected as a NASA astronaut.

Sandwiches had already flown in space, he said in his book, but Nasa brass and Congress considered this a multimillion-dollar embarrassment and outlawed corned beef sandwiches in space forever.

Robert Crippen, Young's co-pilot on Columbia's successful maiden voyage in 1981, told The Associated Press that flying with Young was "a real treat". "Anybody who ever flew in space admired John", he said.

"By whatever management methods it takes, we must make Flight Safety first". He was scheduled to fly for a seventh time to launch the Hubble Space Telescope in 1986, only to have that mission scrubbed following the loss of Space Shuttle Challenger.

Astronaut John Young dies at 87
Astronaut John Young dies at 87

Young showed a reporter the Space Shuttle trainer where astronauts learn how to fly the orbiter.

Not many people argued with John Young. The world needs it. Civilisation needs it", he said in 2000, adding "I don't need it.

Young was born in San Francisco and grew up in Orlando.

STS-1 crew members Commander John Young (L) and Pilot Robert Crippen pose with a model of the Space Shuttle Columbia at Johnson Space Center in Houston May, 7, 1979.

"To us, he represented the best in the American spirit - always looking forward, always reaching higher", Bush said in a statement.

Bush also said: "John leaves a tremendous legacy of accomplishment, in addition to his wonderful family". 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. "May his memory serve to inspire future generations of explorers to dare greatly, act boldly and serve selflessly".

While Young retired from NASA in 2004, he remained a constant figure at the agency, Young remained at NASA until 2004, when he retired at the age of 74.