In the last installment of famous astronauts, you will learn about James Lovell, John Young, and Gus Grissom, who all greatly contributed to NASA and space exploration for America.
Born on March 25th, 1928, James Lovell would grow to become an astronaut that enjoyed 30 days in space, including a mission aboard the Apollo 13. At that time, an explosion that took place on the lunar module would send he and his follow crewmen (Fred Haise and Jack Swigert) back to Earth. Some believe that it was the unlucky number 13 that sent the astronauts back. Additional space adventures involving Lovell include an Apollo 8 mission (where he came within 10 miles of the lunar surface during a test run). Apollo 8 was the first Apollo mission to enter lunar orbit.
Lovell is also known for piloting Gemini 7 (between December 4th and 18th, 1965) and Gemini 12 (between November 11th and 15th, 1966). In March of 1973, Lovell officially retired from NASA. For his participation and contributions to NASA and space exploration, Lovell received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He would later open a fine dining establishment in Illinois.
On September 24th, 1930, John Young came into the world and some years later, he would undergo 835 hours in space, which spanned six different missions. The first mission that Young embarked on was with Gemini 3, where he was the pilot and accompanied by Gus Grissom. Gemini 10 would become Young’s second mission, as he became the commander with Michael Collions serving as pilot. On Apollo 10, Young was assigned as the command module pilot, which went into lunar orbit, but never got a chance to actually land on the moon. It wasn’t until he was a part of the Apollo 16 mission that he made it to the moon, where he spent three days with Charles Duke by his side.
The last two missions that Young was involved with took place aboard a space shuttle. Young commanded the first space shuttle flight STS-1, which took place between April 12th and 14th, 1981. His last mission came with STS-9, which is known as the first flight to carry the European Space Lab. Young was also scheduled to command the mission that was to bring the Hubble Telescope into space, but due to the Challenger incident , this mission was postponed.
By the end of his illustrious career, Young is known for many accomplishments, including becoming the first person to fly into space six time, as well as journey to the Moon on two different occasion. As of 2007, he is also the only person to have piloted four different classes of NASA spacecraft, which includes a Gemini spacecraft, Apollo command/service module, Apollo lunar module, and a space shuttle.
Born April 3rd, 1926, Virgil “Gus” Grissom would grow up to become an Air Force pilot for the United States and then an astronaut for NASA. Grissom was the second American to fly into space, but later lost his life when a training exercise for the Apollo One mission went awry. On January 27th, 1967, Grissom was killed at Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy, alongside two other astronauts , Ed White and Roger Chaffee. In the end, Grissom would receive a posthumous Congressional Space Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart medal.