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Astronaut John Young has died at 87

Robert Eaton
7 min read
Astronaut John Young in 2009. Courtesy photo

Pioneering space explorer has died

RR Auction joins with the Space community in mourning the passing of John Young, NASA’s longest-serving astronaut. Young walked on the moon and flew on the first Gemini and space shuttle missions. He died Friday, Jan. 5, at age 87.

Young was the first person to fly six times into space — seven, if you count his launch off of the moon in 1972 — and the only astronaut to command four different types of spacecraft, according to an article published by creator Robert Z. Pearlman on

Astronaut John Young
Astronaut John Young. Courtesy photo

With his steely-eyed good looks and gentle Georgia-accented demeanor, Young was every bit the epitome of a heroic pioneer in the US space race. His career spanned three decades. He was a pivotal figure in the advancement of our understanding of space exploration. Whether it was in a tiny lunar module or behind a desk, Young’s intelligence and insights were key to the evolution of NASA’s space program.

Time to colonize the moon?

Time will tell if Young was as prescient as he sounds in a video clip discussing man inhabiting other worlds. After calmly reminding the viewer about the extinction of the dinosaurs, he posits a similar demise to the current top species – “Volcanoes, probably” – and suggests there’s no time like the present to be considering colonies elsewhere. Young says “the gravity field on the moon is delightful; it’s very nice,” and that humans will find it “easily adaptable.” After explaining the ease of jumping and the enhanced weightlessness there, he ends with a wry joke that “the Lunar Olympics would be fun.”

Read Pearlman’s comprehensive article about Young’s life and incredible career in space here:

Rest in peace, sir.

Astronaut John Young
Astronaut John Young. Courtesy photo

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