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Monday, January 8, 2018

Astronaut John Young who walked on moon is no more

Venmathi, nilavu, chandamama, ambuli .. and more – Luna  by the Romans, Selene and Artemis by the Greeks, and many other names in other mythologies. The Moon, of course, has been known since prehistoric times. It is the second brightest object in the sky after the Sun. As the Moon orbits around the Earth once per month, the angle between the Earth, the Moon and the Sun changes; we see this as the cycle of the Moon's phases. Moon has always attracted mankind and mankind has been able to reach that brilliant object on sky.

Of the many missions, Apollo 16 was the fifth mission to land men on the moon and return them to Earth. It was also the second flight of the Lunar Roving Vehicle. Apollo 16 landed in a highlands area, a region not yet explored on the Moon. Astronauts collected samples, took photographs and conducted experiments that included the first use of an ultraviolet camera/spectrograph on the Moon.  The successful Apollo 16 manned lunar landing mission was the second in a series of three science-oriented J series missions planned for the Apollo program. The major objective of the mission was to investigate the lunar surface in the Descartes highlands area because it was considered to be representative of much of the Moon's surface, and an area of this type had not been previously visited.

Apollo 16 space vehicle was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre at 12:55:00 p.m. EST on April 16, 1972. The crew members for this mission were John W. Young, Commander, Thomas K. Mattingly II, Command Module Pilot, and Charles M. Duke, Jr., Lunar Module Pilot.   The first extravehicular activity (EVA) [lunar roving vehicle]  was initiated at 119 GET. Television coverage of surface activity was delayed until the lunar roving vehicle (LRV) systems were activated because the steerable antenna on the LM could not be used.  The duration of the first EVA was approximately 7 hours 11 minutes and a distance of 4.2 kilometers was traveled. It definitely was another giant leap for the mankind.

The maneuvering of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) was done by astronaut John W. Young. The World had a glimpse of the same from motion picture film exposed by a 16mm Maurer camera held by astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr. While astronaut's Young, commander, and Duke, lunar module pilot, descended in the Lunar Module (LM) "Orion" to explore the Descartes highlands region of the moon, astronaut Thomas K. Mattingly II, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Casper" in lunar orbit.

The man in that picture astronaut John Young achieved a number of milestones over the course of his 42 year career at NASA: a Navy pilot who served during the Korean War, he flew in space six time with some of the agency’s biggest programs, was the ninth person to walk on the moon, and was the first to pilot the Space Shuttle.

NASA has announced that Young died at the age of 87 due to complications from pneumonia. Born in 1930, Young attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned his degree in aeronautical engineering in 1952. From there, he joined the US Navy, served aboard the USS LAWS during the Korean War, and went on to attend the Navy Test Pilot School. In 1962, NASA selected him as part of Astronaut Group where had a long and cherished career.  He  was the pilot for Gemini 3 in 1965, the first crewed mission of the program. Together, they orbited Earth three times, testing thrusters that allowed the crew to maneuver in space, and was later reprimanded for smuggling a corn beef sandwich for the ride. Young returned to space again in 1966 as the Command Pilot for Gemini 10, along with future Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins.  From there, Young joined the Apollo program.  After walking on moon and driving lunar rover, and upon return,  NASA promoted him to Chief of the Space Shuttle Branch of the Astronaut Office in 1973.

Astronaut John Young, who walked on the Moon during Apollo 16 and commanded the first space shuttle mission, died Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, at the age of 87 from complications of pneumonia. The  career that  spanned three generations of spaceflight has come to a natural end.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

8th Jan 2018.

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