John W. Young



1981                                                             Today

Born September 24, 1930, San Francisco, California
Bachelor of Science, Aeronautical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology


About the Man

John Young graduated from Orlando High School, in Orlando, Florida. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952.

After serving in the United States Navy for one year, Young began flight training. He then flew Cougars and Crusaders while assigned to a Fighter Squadron for 4 years.

John Young received test pilot training at the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in 1959. He was then assigned to the Naval Air Test Center for 3 years. He evaluated the weapons systems on the Crusader and Phantom fighters.

In 1962, Young set world records in time-to-climb to 3,000- and 25,000-meter altitudes in the Phantom. He was maintenance officer of Phantom Fighter Squadron 143 before NASA chose him as one of their astronauts in September of 1962.

John W. Young holds the distinction of being the first person to fly into space six times.

About the Spaceflights

Gemini 3

Mar. 23, 1965

The first Gemini flight was Gemini 3, with astronauts Virgil Grissom and John Young aboard. During the 3-orbit mission, the crew tested their ability to remain in space for longer periods of time than in flights during the Mercury Project. Astronauts Young and Grissom did a complete test of the Gemini spacecraft.

The Gemini 3 crew also obtained information regarding the effects of weightlessness on the astronauts and recorded their physiological reactions during the long duration flights of the Gemini Project. Young operated the first computer on a manned spacecraft.

Flight Duration: Four hours, fifty-two minutes, and thirty-one seconds

Gemini 10

July 18-21, 1966

John Young was commander of the flight of Gemini 10, along with Mike Collins as pilot. The astronauts rendezvous and docked with an Agena target vehicles. Mike Collins performed a one hour and twenty-nine minute extravehicular transfer to recover a micrometeorite detector from Agena rocket.

It was the first Gemini flight to use the Agena rocket's propulsion systems. The crew and spacecraft orbited the Earth forty-three times. Gemini 10 splashed down on July 21, 1966.

Flight Duration: Two days, twenty-two hours, forty-six minutes, and thirty-nine seconds

Apollo 10

May 18-26, 1969

On his third flight, Young was command module pilot of Apollo 10. Apollo 10 was a 'dress rehearsal' for a lunar landing mission. The astronauts named the CSM, Charlie Brown, and the LEM, Snoopy.

Astronauts Young, Stafford and Cernan demonstrated the performance of the Lunar Excursion Module, LM, and the Command/Service Module, CSM in the gravitational field of the Moon.

The Apollo 10 evaluated both the CSM and LEM docked and undocked lunar navigation. The Apollo 10 crew orbited the Moon a total of thity-one times in a little over sixty-one hours. They took the LEM to within 50,000 feet of the Moon's surface. They performed the entire lunar landing mission except the actual landing

The astronauts of Apollo 10 gave the first live color broadcast from space.

Apollo 10 splashed down on May 26, 1969. Two months later, NASA would send Apollo 11 to the moon for the first lunar landing.

Flight Duration: Eight days, zero hours, three minutes, and twenty-three seconds

Apollo 16

April 16-27, 1972

Young's fourth space flight, Apollo 16, with Astronauts Ken Mattingly and Charlie Duke, was a manned lunar landing mission, with Young as spacecraft commander. They nicknamed the CM, Casper, and the LEM, Orion.

On Thursday, April 20, 1972, Orion landed on the Descartes Plateau on the Moon's surface. Orion landed ten feet away from a thirty-foot crater. In the distance, the astronauts could see the rolling slopes of the lunar highlands.

The next morning, Young and Duke set up scientific equipment and explored the lunar highlands at Descartes. Young and Duke climbed down Orion's ladder and stepped down onto the lunar soil.

The Apollo 16 crew brought along an ALSEP, or an Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package, the. This equipment measured the strength of solar wind, the solar magnetic field, and the Earth's magnetic effect on the Moon. It also enabled scientists to study the physics of the Moon's surface and it's interior. They deployed the Lunar Rover, set up a television camera, and put up the American flag. They also set up an ultraviolet camera. After four hours, they climbed aboard the Lunar Rover. They traveled approximately one mile to a small crater named Flag. On the return trip in the Lunar Rover, they passed by Spook crater. They collected rock and soil samples along the way. After seven hours and eleven minutes, the astronauts completed their first day of extravehicular activity, or EVA, and returned to Orion for the night.

The next day, the astronauts began their second EVA. The astronauts conducted geological experiments on a rounded hill south of Orion's landing site, called Stone Mountain. Paved with boulders and jagged terrain, the ride to the mountain was a rough one for the Lunar Rover. Geologists believed that Stone Mountain would produce evidence of lava flow, but the Apollo 16 astronauts disproved that theory. However, geologists were delighted with the spellbinding photos of Stone Mountain taken by the astronauts. Young and Duke collected eight-two pounds of samples from the region. After seven hours and twenty-three minutes, the astronauts completed their second EVA, and returned to Orion.

Their third and final EVA would be their shortest, because the sun was higher in the sky on their third day on the Moon's surface. The astronauts also needed to prepare the LEM for liftoff from the Moon. Young and Duke surveyed the North Ray Crater and the lower slopes of Smoky Mountain. Scattered around the North Ray Crater were boulders larger than any Apollo astronaut had seen before. The third EVA lasted five hours and 40 minutes. The samples extracted from their third EVA weighed about ninety pounds.

Young and Duke climbed back into Orion for the last time. They prepared for liftoff while Mattingly, who had orbited the Moon for a total of seventy-eight times, fired a rocket to send Casper into a rendezvous orbit. Viewed by millions back on Earth, Orion blasted off the Moon, carrying an insurmountable cargo of rock and soil samples. Two hours later, Orion docked with Casper. Five hours after docking, Apollo 16 headed for home on its trans-Earth trajectory. The Apollo 16 space flight went down in the books for breaking records in total time on the Moon's surface, and for total EVA duration. Apollo 16 was a record-breaking flight in almost every area of lunar exploration. They collected almost 200 pounds of rocks and drove over 16 miles in the lunar rover while on the moon.

Flight Duration: Eleven days, one hour, fifty-one minutes


April 12-14, 1981

The following info for the Shuttle flights was collected from the: Bio Page for John W. Young

Young's fifth flight was as spacecraft commander of STS-1, the first flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia, April 12-14, 1981, with Bob Crippen as pilot. The 54-1/2 hour, 36 orbit mission verified Space Shuttle systems performance during launch, on orbit, and entry. Tests included evaluation of mechanical systems including the payload bay doors, the attitude and maneuvering rocket thrusters, guidance and navigation systems, and Orbiter/crew compatibility. One hundred and thirty three of the mission's flight test objectives were accomplished.

Columbia is the first manned spaceship to be flown into orbit without benefit of previous unmanned orbital testing. Columbia is also the first winged reentry vehicle to return from space to a runway landing. It weighed about 98 tons as Young braked it to a stop on the dry lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Flight Duration: Two days, six hours, twenty minutes, and fifty-three seconds


November 28-December 8, 1983

Young's sixth flight was as spacecraft commander of STS-9, the first Spacelab mission, November 28 - December 8, 1983, with pilot Brewster Shaw, mission specialists Bob Parker and Owen Garriott, and payload specialists Byron Lichtenberg of the USA, and Ulf Merbold of West Germany. The mission successfully completed all 94 of its flight test objectives.

For 10 days the 6-man crew worked 12-hour shifts around-the-clock, performing more than 70 experiments in the fields of atmospheric physics, earth observations, space plasma physics, astronomy and solar physics, materials processing and life sciences. The mission returned more scientific and technical data than all the previous Apollo and Skylab missions put together.

The Spacelab was brought back for reuse, so that Columbia weighed about 110 tons as Young landed the spaceship at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Young was also on five backup crews -- backup pilot in Gemini 6, backup command pilot of the second Apollo mission before the Apollo Program fire, and of Apollo 7, and backup spacecraft commander for Apollo 13 and 17. In preparation for prime and backup crew positions on 10 space flights, Young has put more than 13,000 hours into training so far, mostly in simulators and simulations.

Flight Duration: Ten days, seven hours, forty-seven minutes, and twenty-four seconds

For additonal information on the Space Shuttle, go to the following websites:

The Space Shuttle At Work

Click on the patches to read about John Young's six historic spaceflights
in more detail at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Website.



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