BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - NASA remembered the passing of a space pioneer, astronaut John Young.
The 87-year-old died last week from complications of pneumonia.
Young commanded the first space shuttle mission, but his career spanned decades.
Many people told Channel 9’s Melonie Holt that Young was an American hero who was willing to share his expertise and knowledge and his legacy lives on.
The Kennedy Space Center paused to remember the only person to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs.
“John truly was an American hero, and I felt so privileged to work for him when I got selected to be an astronaut in 1985,” director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Bob Cabana said.
Young was a pioneer. He began his NASA career in 1962 when he was selected to join NASA’s second astronaut class known as the "new nine.”
He flew on the first manned Gemini mission and later walked on the moon during Apollo 16.
Young also commanded the first space shuttle mission, STS-1 aboard space shuttle Columbia with pilot Bob Crippen.
Young worked behind the scenes to mitigate the risk to future astronauts.
“He was the astronaut, all right experience how he handles himself, what he accomplished, his quest for safety,” Cabana said.
Young was also a graduate of Orlando High School.
© 2018 Cox Media Group.