He walked on the Moon. He flew six space missions in three different programs--more than any other human. He served with NASA for more than four decades. His peers called him the "astronaut's astronaut."
Enthusiasts of space exploration have long waited for John Young to tell the story of his two Gemini flights, his two Apollo missions, the first-ever Space Shuttle flight, and the first Spacelab mission. Forever Young delivers all that and more: Young's personal journey from engineering graduate to fighter pilot, to test pilot, to astronaut, to high NASA official, to clear-headed predictor of the fate of Planet Earth.
Young, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James Hansen, recounts the great episodes of his amazing flying career in fascinating detail and with wry humor. He portrays astronauts as ordinary human beings and NASA as an institution with the same ups and downs as other major bureaucracies. He frankly discusses the risks of space travel, including what went wrong with the Challenger and Columbia shuttles.
Forever Young is one of the last memoirs produced by an early American astronaut. It is the first memoir written by a chief of the NASA astronaut corps. Young's experiences and candor make this book indispensable to everyone interested in the U.S. space program.
Engineer, astronaut, and moonwalker, Young looks back over his participation in the space program, from the days of testing fighter jets in the 1950s to the last space shuttle mission. He chronicles his first experience with leaking O-ring seals as (the flaw that destroyed the space shuttle Challenger) a test pilot]setting the stage for his continued obsession with flight safety and his guilt at not personally checking every aspect of the design for the Challenger. Between these two events lay the heady early days of the astronaut program, Gemini missions, loops around the moon, and finally, landing there as leader of the Apollo 16 mission. Staying with NASA, in 1974Young became chief of the NASA Astronaut office in Houston, involved in every aspect of the shuttles, and flew the first one. Packed with minute technical detail that space enthusiasts will devour, Young's story also reveals personal side of the program. His pain at the loss of his pal, Gus Grissom, in a 1967 equipment test, is still raw, as is the loss of the shuttle crews. There are also tales of pranks, mishaps, and corned beef in space. At 82, Young hasn't lost his enthusiasm for space exploration, one that he communicates on every page. 43 b&w ophotos.