Legendary astronaut John Young dies at 87

Legendary US astronaut John Young (pictured left along with his STS-1 crew member Pilot Robert L. Crippen), who walked on the moon and was the first to fly in space six times, died on Friday after complications from pneumonia at his Houston home, space agency NASA said. Young was 87.

“Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer. Astronaut John Young’s storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight,” NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot said in an emailed statement Saturday.

“John was one of that group of early space pioneers whose bravery and commitment sparked our nation’s first great achievements in space,” he said.

In 1972, Young became the ninth of 12 people ever to set foot on the moon. In April 1981, he commanded Space Shuttle Columbia on its maiden flight, STS-1. In late 1983 he commanded STS-9, the first Space lab mission. The mission returned more scientific and technical data than all the Apollo and Skylab missions combined.

Young spent his last 17 years at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in management, focusing on safety issues. He retired at the end of 2004.

When someone asked him about the most memorable moment in space, he said, “I liked them all.”