Sunday, December 30, 2012

Forever Young, Memoir of the Astronaut's Astronaut

Charlie Duke catches Apollo 16 commander John Young as he salutes Old Glory in mid-jump, demonstrating the Moon's low gravity. See the original at NASA's Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, HERE (MET: 120:25:42 - AS17-113-18339).

"He is off the ground about 1.45 seconds which, in the lunar gravity field, means he launched himself at a velocity of about 1.17 meters per second and reached a maximum height of 0.42 meters. Although the suit and backpack weighed as much as he did his total weight was only about 65 pounds (30 kg). To get to this height he only had to bend his knees slightly and push up with his legs." Video Clip ( 3 min 21 sec 0.9 Mb RealVideo or 30 Mb MPEG ) [NASA].
Ben Evans

In the days before his first mission into space, way back in March 1965, John Young was asked by a journalist if he minded flying into orbit with the fiery Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom as his Gemini 3 crewmate. Without blinking, the 34-year-old Young replied: “Are you kidding? I’d go with my mother-in-law!” It was an indicator not only of Young’s intense dry wit, but of his equally intense devotion to the exploration of the final frontier – an exploration which consumes 400 pages in his long-awaited memoir, Forever Young, co-authored with Auburn University history professor and Neil Armstrong biographer James R. Hansen.

Long-awaited because Young has earned himself a reputation over the past five decades which cannot be surpassed. True, there are astronauts who have flown more times into space than him. True, there are other astronauts who have walked on the Moon, besides him. True, there are astronauts who have commanded more missions and flown longer in space than him. But for sheer longevity within the astronaut business, John Watts Young is unrivaled. Selected as a member of NASA’s second intake of spacefarers in September 1962 – an intake which former chief astronaut Deke Slayton once described as “probably the best all-around group ever put together” – he spent more than 40 years with NASA and flew six times, across three separate programs: Gemini, Apollo and the Shuttle. Even Jerry Ross, who became the first human to record a seventh voyage into space, has described Young as his hero.

Read the full review at AmericaSpace, HERE.

No comments: