Astronaut John Young died last week after complications from pneumonia at the age of 87, CNN reports. During his NASA career, Young made six voyages into space, walked on the moon and commanded the first space shuttle flight.
Young was a former Navy pilot and part of the second group of astronauts hired by NASA in 1962. Over the years, he became one of the agency's most experienced flyers and is the only astronaut to go into space in each of the Gemini, Apollo, and space shuttle programs.
He was also the first man to get into deep trouble for smuggling a corned beef sandwich into space.
The event, which has lived in infamy, happened in March of 1965, as Young and astronaut Gus Grissom were in space for a Gemini 3 mission. Part of their mission was to test how astronauts can eat in space, and during the trial Young pulled an unauthorized corned beef sandwich out of his pocket. Here's the official NASA transcript:
Gus Grissom: "What is it?"
John Young: "Corn beef sandwich."
Grissom: "Where did that come from?"
Young: "I brought it with me. Let's see how it tastes. Smells, doesn't it?"
Grissom: "Yes, it's breaking up. I'm going to stick it in my pocket."
Young: "Is it?"
Young: "It was a thought, anyways."
Young: "Not a very good one."
Grissom: "Pretty good, though, if it would just hold together."
Young: "Want some chicken leg?"
Grissom: "No, you can handle that."
A scandal ensued -- congress considered the event an embarrassment and NASA was forced to outlaw corned beef sandwiches from space forever. In a meeting, NASA administrator George Mueller said, "We have taken steps... to prevent the recurrence of corned beef sandwiches in future flights."
RIP John Young, may your sandwich-smuggling legacy live on.
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