Space pioneer John Young has been named a NASA Ambassador of Exploration. The award, along with a commemorative moon rock, were presented Wednesday during a ceremony at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
The awards remain the property of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration, but are displayed at a museum or educational institution of the recipient's choice.
NASA says the goal of the awards is to inspire a new generation of explorers.
Young was the first human to fly in space six times and launch seven times; six from Earth and once from the moon.
He is the only astronaut to pilot four different types of spacecraft, flying in the Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.
Young is also the longest serving astronaut in history. The retired U.S. Navy captain and test pilot joined NASA in 1962 and retired last December.
Young served as chief of NASA's Astronaut Office for 13 years, and served eight years as an assistant and associate director of NASA's Johnson Space Center.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International
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