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Media Invited to Naming of Ellington Field Hangar after Astronaut John Young

Press Release From: Johnson Space Center
Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2021

NASA will honor astronaut John Young by naming the hangar at Ellington Field in Houston that holds NASA's T-38 astronaut training jets, and media are invited to attend the ceremony at 11 a.m. CDT Tuesday, Oct. 19, at Ellington Field.

Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche and NASA Astronaut Suni Williams will be available for interviews immediately after the event. To participate, news media must contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 or jsccommu@mail.nasa.gov by 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 18.

Young was considered a paragon of the astronaut corps, a pioneer who walked on the Moon during Apollo 16 and commanded the first space shuttle mission, and continued to serve the agency as a champion of technical excellence and spaceflight safety. NASA astronauts regularly train for spaceflight in the T-38 jets housed in the Ellington Field hangar, so naming the facility for the accomplished pilot was considered fitting.

Young began his impressive career at NASA in 1962, when he was selected from among hundreds of young pilots to join NASA's second astronaut class, known as the "New Nine." He was the first person to launch into space six times from Earth, and seven times counting his lunar liftoff.

His first flight was mission in 1965 with Gus Grissom on Gemini 3, the first Gemini mission with humans aboard. This was a complete end-to-end test of the Gemini spacecraft, during which Grissom accomplished the first manual change of altitude and orbital plane, and Young was the first person to operate a computer on a human-rated spacecraft.

In 1966, he commanded Gemini 10 and on his third flight in1969, Young was command module pilot of Apollo 10. Mission commander Tom Stafford and lunar module pilot Gene Cernan orbited the Moon, completed a lunar-orbit undocking and rendezvous with the lunar module, and tracked proposed lunar landing sites.

In 1972, Young walked on the Moon on his fourth space flight, Apollo 16, and served as mission commander with command module pilot Ken Mattingly and lunar module pilot Charlie Duke. Young and Duke set up scientific equipment and explored the lunar highlands at Descartes. They collected 200 pounds of rocks and drove over 16 miles in the lunar rover on three separate geology traverses.

In 1981, Young's fifth flight was as spacecraft commander of STS-1, the first flight of the space shuttle with Bob Crippen as pilot. The 54 1/2 hour, 36-orbit mission verified space shuttle systems performance during launch, on orbit, and entry. Space Shuttle Columbia was the first human spaceship tested during ascent, on orbit, and entry without the benefit of previous uncrewed missions. Columbia also was the first winged reentry vehicle to return from space, weighing about 98 tons as Young landed it on the dry lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

In 1983, Young's sixth flight was as commander of STS-9, the first Spacelab mission, Nov. 28-Dec. 8, 1983, with Pilot Brewster Shaw, Mission Specialists Bob Parker and Owen Garriott, and Payload Specialists Byron Lichtenberg of the U.S., and Ulf Merbold of West Germany. For 10 days the six-person crew worked 12-hour shifts around the clock, performing more than 70 experiments in the fields of atmospheric physics, Earth observations, space plasma physics, astronomy and solar physics, materials processing, and life sciences.

Former astronaut and Johnson director Mike Coats will join Wyche and Williams in making remarks for the dedication.

For Young's biography, visit: www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/young_john.pdf

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit: www.nasa.gov


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