Launch Escape Suit

Not many astronauts have had a career like John Young. Not many people, period, have enjoyed as much professional success as Young.

Young became the ninth person to walk on the moon during Apollo 16, made six space flights over 42 years of NASA service, piloted four different classes of spacecraft, including the Gemini, the Apollo command module and lunar module and the space shuttle.

In 1965, Young flew on the first crewed Gemini mission and commanded another the next year. He orbited the moon alone during Apollo 10, drove the lunar rover during Apollo 16 and served as Chief of the Astronaut Office from 1974-87.

In 1981, Young was the mission commander for STS-1, the first shuttle mission, which launched on April 12. The mission was the only crewed maiden test flight of a new spacecraft system in U.S. history.

Young’s escape suit from the flight in the Columbia orbiter is on display in Astronaut Gallery at Space Center Houston. The mission returned to Earth on April 14, 54 hours later, after orbiting 37 times.

The suit, for missions STS-1 through STS-4, was used in conjunction with the then-installed ejection seats. It allowed ejections in speeds up to Mach 2.7 and 80,000 feet (24.4 kilometers). The suit was derived from the U.S. Air Forces’ Model S1030 suit, worn by SR-71 pilots. The suit and ejection seat were not used after STS-4.