Young, John Watts

Young, John Watts, 1930–2018, American astronaut, b. San Francisco. A Navy test pilot, he joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's astronaut program in 1962. Young served as pilot of Gemini 3 (Mar. 23, 1965), command pilot of Gemini 10 (July 18–21, 1966), command-module pilot of the Apollo 10 lunar-orbit mission (May 18–26, 1969), and commander of the Apollo 16 lunar-landing mission (Apr. 16–27, 1972), during which he became the ninth person to walk on the moon. When he commanded the first orbital test flight of the space shuttle Columbia (Apr. 12–14, 1981), he became the first astronaut to fly in space five times. Two years later he again commanded the Columbia (Nov. 28–Dec. 8, 1983), becoming the first astronaut to fly six space missions. He was chief astronaut from 1974 to 1987, and retired in 2004.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Space Exploration: Biographies