NASA Astronaut Biographies- Y
NAME: John W. Young (Mr.)
BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born in San Francisco, California, on September 24, 1930.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Brown hair; green eyes; height: 5 feet 9 inches; weight:
EDUCATION: Graduated from Orlando High School, Orlando, Florida; received a
bachelor of science degree in Aeronautical Engineering with highest honors from
the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952.
MARITAL STATUS: Married to the former Susy Feldman of St. Louis, Missouri.
CHILDREN: Daughter, Sandy, April 30, 1957. Son, John, January 17, 1959.
RECREATIONAL INTERESTS: Wind Surfing and bicycling.
ORGANIZATIONS: Fellow of the American Astronautical Society (AAS), the Society
of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP), and the American Institute of Aeronautics
and Astronautics (AIAA).
SPECIAL HONORS: Awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor (1981), 3 NASA
Distinguished Service Medals, Navy Astronaut Wings (1965), 2 Navy Distinguished
Service Medals, 3 Navy Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Georgia Tech
Distinguished Young Alumni Award (1965), Distinguished Service Alumni Award
(1972) and the Exceptional Achievement Award (1985). Inducted into the
National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1988. Recipient of more than 65 other major
awards, including 4 honorary doctorate degrees.
EXPERIENCE: Upon graduation from Georgia Tech, Young entered the United States
Navy. After serving on the west coast destroyer, USS LAWS (DD-558), for 1
year, he was sent to flight training in props, jets, and helicopters. He was
then assigned to Fighter Squadron 103 for 4 years, flying Cougars and
After test pilot training at the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in 1959, he was
assigned to the Naval Air Test Center for 3 years. His test projects included
evaluations of the Crusader and Phantom fighter weapons systems. In 1962, he
set world time-to-climb records to 3,000- and 25,000-meter altitudes in the
Phantom. Prior to reporting to NASA, he was maintenance officer of Phantom
Fighter Squadron 143. Young retired from the Navy as a Captain in September
1976, after completing almost 25 years of active military service.
He has logged more than 11,700 hours flying time, including 835 hours in six
NASA EXPERIENCE: In September 1962, Young was selected as an astronaut. He is
the first person to fly in space six times. The first flight was with Gus
Grissom in Gemini 3, the first manned Gemini mission, on March 23, 1965. This
was a complete end-to-end test of the Gemini spacecraft, during which Gus
accomplished the first manual change of orbit altitude and plane and the first
lifting reentry, and Young operated the first computer on a manned spacecraft.
On Gemini 10, July 18-21, 1966, Young, as commander, and Mike Collins, as
pilot, completed a dual rendezvous with two separate Agena target vehicles.
Mike Collins also did an extravehicular transfer to retrieve a micrometeorite
detector from the second Agena. On his third flight, May 18-26, 1969, Young
was command module pilot of Apollo 10. Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan were also
on this mission which orbited the Moon and completed a lunar rendezvous. His
fourth space flight, Apollo 16, April 16-27, 1972, was a lunar exploration
mission, with Young as spacecraft commander, and Ken Mattingly and Charlie
Duke. Young and Duke set up scientific equipment and explored the lunar
highlands at Descartes. They collected almost 200 pounds of rocks and drove
over 16 miles in the lunar rover while on the moon.
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,
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 12,000 hours into
training so far, mostly in simulations and simulators.
In January 1973 Young was made Chief of the Space Shuttle Branch of the
Astronaut Office, providing operational and engineering astronaut support for
the design and development of the Space Shuttle. In January 1974 he was
selected to be Chief of the Astronaut Office, with responsibility for the
coordination, scheduling, and control of activities of the astronauts. Young
served as Chief of the Astronaut Office until May 1987. During his tenure,
astronaut flight crews participated in the Apollo-Soyuz joint American-Russian
docking mission, the Space Shuttle Orbiter Approach and Landing Test Program,
and twenty five Space Shuttle missions.
CURRENT ASSIGNMENT: Young currently serves as Special Assistant to the
Director of JSC for Engineering, Operations, and Safety. In this new position,
Young has direct access to the Center Director and other senior managers in
defining and resolving issues affecting the safe return to flight of the Space
Shuttle. Additionally, Young is also assisting the Center Director in
providing advice and counsel on engineering, operational, and safety matters
related to the Space Station, the uprated Shuttle, the National Aerospace
Plane, the Crew Emergency Return Vehicle, and the Human Exploration
Initiative. As an active astronaut, Young remains eligible to command future
Shuttle astronaut crews.
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