Decorated U.S. astronaut John Young has passed away at age 87.
Young’s legacy as a pioneer is indisputable. The Congressional Space Medal of Honor recipient is the only NASA astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo, and space shuttle programs and the first to fly into space six times during his career. Young also holds the distinction of being the ninth person to walk on the moon and put in thousands of hours of training and flight time, leading to 835 hours total spent in space.
“Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer,” said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot in a statement released following Young’s passing. “Astronaut John Young’s storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight; we will stand on his shoulders as we look toward the next human frontier. John was one of that group of early space pioneers whose bravery and commitment sparked our nation’s first great achievements in space. But, not content with that, his hands-on contributions continued long after the last of his six spaceflights — a world record at the time of his retirement from the cockpit.”
NASA notes that Young earned over 80 major honors and awards in his lifetime. In addition to being recognized as a Congressional Space Medal of Honor recipient, Young was presented with three NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, two Navy Distinguished Service Medals, three Navy Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Georgia Tech Distinguished Young Alumni Award, the Exceptional Engineering Achievement Award and the American Astronautical Society Space Flight Award during his lifetime.
At present, it has not yet been disclosed what served as the cause of Young’s death.