John Watts Young
(Capt, USN, Ret.)
(1930 – )
Missions: Gemini 3, Gemini 10, Apollo 10, Apollo 16, STS-1, STS-9
Time in Space: 835 hours, 39 minutes
Ninth person to walk on the Moon
NASA astronaut John Watts Young was born on September 24, 1930, in San Francisco, California. He studied aeronautical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, graduating with the highest honors in 1952. Young then enlisted in the United States Navy, serving as a fighter pilot during the Korean War.
Young began his career with NASA in September 1962 when he was selected to join the second group of astronauts, also known as the New Nine. He flew four missions for Projects Gemini and Apollo: as Pilot for Gemini 3 in March 1965, during which Young operated the first computer on a manned spacecraft; as Commander of Gemini 10 in July 1966, the first spaceflight to rendezvous with two separate Agena target vehicles; as Command Module Pilot of Apollo 10 in May 1969, the “dress rehearsal” for the lunar landing; and as Commander of Apollo 16 in April 1972, making Young the ninth person to walk on the Moon. In total, Young logged 835 hours and 39 minutes in space, of which 20 hours and 14 minutes were spent in extravehicular activity.
From 1974 to 1987, Young served as the Chief of the Astronaut Office. He flew two Space Shuttle missions: STS-1 in April 1981 and STS-9 in November 1983. From 1987 to 1996, Young served as a Special Assistant to the Director at Johnson Space Center. In 1996, he became an Associate Director at the Houston-based Center. He retired from NASA in 2004 after 42 years of service.