Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts
John W. Young flew on Gemini 3 and 10, orbited the moon on Apollo 10, walked on the moon on Apollo 16, and commanded two space shuttle missions, STS-1 and STS-9.
He was born in San Francisco on Sept. 24, 1930. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering with highest honors from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952.
He joined the Navy after graduation. He served on a destroyer for a year and then took flight training and was assigned to Fighter Squadron 103 for four years, flying Cougars and Crusaders. After training at the Navy Test Pilot School in 1959, he was assigned to the Naval Air Test Center for three years, setting time-to-climb records in a Phantom jet. He later was maintenance officer of Phantom Fighter Squadron 103. He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1976.
Young was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1962. He flew with Gus Grissom on the first manned Gemini mission, Gemini 3, launched March 23, 1965. During five hours in orbit, they accomplished several firsts for a manned spacecraft: changing the orbital path, operating a computer and lifting reentry. On Gemini 10, July 18-21, 1966, Young and Mike Collins executed a dual rendezvous with two separate Agena satellites and Collins took a space walk. On Apollo 10, May 18-26, 1969, Young operated the Command Module while Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan flew the separated Lunar Module to within 10 miles of the moon. Young commanded Apollo 16, April 16-27, 1972, with Charlie Duke and Ken Mattingly. Young and Duke explored the lunar highlands at Descartes, drove a Lunar Rover 16 miles and collected 200 pounds of moon rocks.
Young’s fifth flight was as commander of the first space shuttle mission, STS-1, on April 12, 1981, a 54.5 hour flight during which he and Bob Crippen thoroughly tested the first reflyable winged spacecraft. They guided Columbia to the first runway landing of a manned spaceship. Young was back in space aboard Columbia for the STS-9 mission, Nov. 28-Dec. 8, 1983, with pilot Brewster Shaw, Bob Parker, Owen Garriott, Byron Lichtenberg and West German Ulf Merbold. In a Spacelab module in the cargo bay, the crew conducted science, metals processing and life sciences experiments.
In 1973, Young was named Chief of the Space Shuttle Branch of the Astronaut Office. A year later he was selected Chief of the Astronaut Office. He is currently the Special Assistant to the Director of the Johnson Space Center for Engineering, Operations and Safety.
Young and his wife, Susy, live in Seabrook, Texas.
John Young was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on March 19, 1993.