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John Watts Young

NASA's longest-serving astronaut

John Young

Biographical Data

Born September 24, 1930, in San Francisco, California.

Married to Susy Feldman.
Two children

Died January 5, 2018, in Houston, Texas.


Orlando (Florida) High School
Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1952

Military Career

Served on the destroyer USS Laws during the Korean War.

Served in Fighter Squadron 103 for 4 years, flying Cougars and Crusaders.

Completed test pilot training at the U. S. Navy Test Pilot School in 1959.

Assigned to the Naval Air Test Center for 3 years.
Set world time-to-climb records in 3,000- and 25,000-meter altitudes in the Phantom in 1962.

Retired from the Navy as a Captain in September 1976.

NASA Career

Selected as an astronaut in 1962.

Gemini 3
March 23, 1965
The first manned mission.
Gus Grissom.
Operated the first computer on a manned spacecraft.

Gemini 6
Backup Pilot.

Gemini 10
July 18-21, 1966
Commander, with
Mike Collins as Pilot.

Apollo 2
Backup Command Module Pilot.

Apollo 7
Backup Command Module Pilot.

Apollo 10
May 18-26, 1969
Command Module Pilot, with
Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan.

Apollo 13
Backup Spacecraft Commander.

Apollo 16
April 16-27, 1972
Spacecraft Commander, with Ken Mattingly and
Charles Duke.
Collected 200 pounds of moon rocks and drove over 16 miles in the Lunar Rover.

Apollo 17
Backup Spacecraft Commander.

Chief of the Space Shuttle Branch of the Astronaut Office
So named in January 1973.
Responsible for providing operational and engineering astronaut support for the design and development of the Space Shuttle.

Chief of the Astronaut Office
January 1974-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 25 Space Shuttle missions.

April 12-14, 1981
The first flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia.
Spacecraft Commander, with Pilot Bob Crippen.

November 28-December 8, 1983
The first Spacelab mission.
Spacecraft Commander, with Pilot Brewster Shaw, Mission Specialists Bob Parker and
Owen Garriott, and Payload Specialists Byron Lichtenberg and Ulf Merbold.

Special Assistant to the Director of the Johnson Space Center for Engineering, Operations, and Safety
May 1987-February 1996

Associate Director (Technical) of the Johnson Space Center
February 1996-December 2004

Retired from NASA on December 31, 2004.


American Astronautical Society
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Society of Experimental Test Pilots

Awards and Recognitions

Navy Astronaut Wings (1965)
2 Navy Distinguished Service Medals
3 Navy Distinguished Flying Crosses

4 NASA Distinguished Service Medals
NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (1992)
NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal (1987)
NASA Outstanding Achievement Medal (1994)

Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni (1994)
American Astronautical Society Space Flight Award (1993)
Congressional Space Medal of Honor (1981)
Distinguished Executive Award (1998)
Distinguished Service Alumni Award (1972)
Exceptional Engineering Achievement Award (1985)
Georgia Tech Distinguished Young Alumni Award (1965)
Rotary National Space Achievement Award (2000)

inducted into 6 Aviation and Astronaut Halls of Fame

6 honorary doctorate degrees


Astronaut Biographies

See Also

Gus Grissom
Gemini 10
Mike Collins
Tom Stafford
Gene Cernan
Charles Duke
Owen Garriott
Ulf Merbold

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This page was last updated on 02/08/2019.