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    Young Receives Nolen Lifetime Achievement Award

    Johnson Space Center Space News Roundup - October 22, 1999

    By Nicole Cloutier

    Capt. John Young, astronaut and JSCís associate director (technical), was awarded the 1999 Lloyd P. Nolen Lifetime Achievement in Aviation Award earlier this month. Announced at a press conference at Ellington Field by the Wings Over Houston Airshow Festival Executive Committee, the award honors Youngís substantial contributions to the aviation community throughout his lifetime. "Theyíre giving this award to me for lifetime achievements, but Iím still working on about 120 or 130 other things," said Young. "We still have a long way to go."

    Young has flown in space six times in three different spacecraft. And as heís well known throughout the NASA community for his legendary role as one of the early astronauts, his contributions to the field of flight go far beyond that. "I feel honored that our organization could recognize someone of such outstanding accomplishments," said Everett Gibson, an airshow volunteer and JSC senior space scientist and co-leader for the Mars Research Team. "Aside from his NASA career, he has been a leader with his aviation work and what he did as a test pilot for the Navy."

    After graduating from Georgia Institute of Technology, Young joined the Navy. He underwent training at the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in 1959 and was assigned to the Naval Air Test Center where he assessed weapon systems on the Phantom and the Crusader. He went on to set world time-to-climb records in the Phantom in 1962. That same year, Young joined NASAís astronaut program and began his incredible record of space flights starting with Gemini 3. Heís the only person to have flown in Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle vehicles.

    "Even with these remarkable achievements, he is a very nice person and a humble person," added Gibson. "He always recognizes the people who work to put these programs together. Heís been involved in the space program for so long, yet he still maintains such enthusiasm and inspiration. Itís unusual to find all of these qualities in a person."

    Upon accepting the award, Young made a point to thank the people whoíve contributed to his success. "Itís a team effort to be in aviation as long as I have," said Young, who thanked his wife for her support throughout his endeavors. He also thanked the Navy for launching his aviation career. "Were it not for them [U.S. Navy], I would never have started, and that F-4 back there gave me the chance to get into the astronaut corps."

    Since joining NASA, Young has fulfilled a variety of positions including chief of Space Shuttle Branch of the Astronaut Office; chief of the Astronaut Office; and special assistant to the director of JSC for Engineering, Operations and Safety.

    The award, first given in 1989, is named for Lloyd P. Nolen, a man immersed in aviation as a pilot, aircraft owner, mechanic, and businessman throughout his life. Noting that thousands of World War II aircraft were being destroyed in the early 50ís without any efforts for preservation, Nolen recruited friends in the Rio Grande Valley to acquire the aircraft. By 1957, they formed an organization dedicated to locating, acquiring and restoring as many allied and enemy aircraft as possible. Today the American Airpower Heritage Foundation, located in Midland, Texas, has more than 140 aircraft in its inventory and is one of the finest aviation museums in the country. Nolen was the first recipient of the award given in his name.

    The 1999 award will be dis-played in the trophy case in the Teague Auditorium. "Iím going to set the trophy up at JSC so the people who really deserve a piece of it can come and look at it," said Young. "All the folks at NASA, they are the people who support this flying operation and have made it probably the best that we have on the continent."

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