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John Young, moon astronaut and first to fly shuttle, dies aged 87

The astronaut John Young, who walked on the moon and commanded the first space shuttle flight, has died. He was 87. In a statement, the former president George HW Bush said Young was “a fearless patriot whose courage and commitment to duty helped our nation push back the horizon of discovery at a critical time”. Nasa said Young died at home in Houston on Friday night following complications from pneumonia.

The space agency said Young was the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programmes and the first to fly into space six times. He was the ninth man to walk on the moon. Young was in Nasa’s second astronaut class, chosen in 1962, along with the likes of Neil Armstrong, Pete Conrad and James Lovell.

“Today, Nasa and the world have lost a pioneer,” the Nasa administrator, Robert Lightfoot, said in a statement. “Astronaut John Young’s storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight. “John was one of that group of early space pioneers whose bravery and commitment sparked our nation’s first great achievements in space.”

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