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Apollo astronaut John Young dies at 87

Apollo astronaut John Young dies at 87

Ten years later, he was selected to join NASA and in 1965 he made he made his first trip to space with Gus Grissom on Gemini 3.

NASA astronaut John Young, who flew the agency's first Space Shuttle mission and walked on the surface of the Moon, has died.

Young is the only astronaut who took part in the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programmes. "He was in every way the "astronaut's astronaut", said NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot, local media reported. Young flew two Gemini, two Apollo and two shuttle missions and considered the first shuttle flight the most risky. Young flew twice to the Moon, walked on its surface & flew the first Space Shuttle mission.

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And he commanded the first space shuttle flight, with pilot Bob Crippen, over three days in April 1981. Spanning three generations of spaceflight, he went on to fly in space six times.

Former President George H.W. Bush called Young a "fearless patriot".

Young was also noted as the first ever commander of the Space Shuttle program, leading STS-1 on board of Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981. "John Young was at the forefront of human space exploration with his poise, talent, and tenacity". "To us, he represented the best in the American spirit - always looking forward, always reaching higher". Terry Virts: "You were one of my heroes as an astronaut and your passion for space will be missed".

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Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield echoed that on Twitter, saying "John Young is one of my heroes, an astronaut's astronaut, a fearless individual and a good friend. May his memory serve to inspire future generations of explorers to dare greatly, act boldly, and serve selflessly".

We're saddened by the loss of astronaut John Young, who was 87.

When asked what moment in his career was most memorable at his retirement from NASA in 2004, he replied, "I liked them all". Scott Kelly, a fellow Navy Pilot, wished him "Fair winds and following seas".

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