Obituaries Current Affairs - 2019
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Legendary astronaut of NASA John Young, who walked on the moon and later commanded the first space shuttle flight passed away in Houston, US. He was 87.
He was NASA’s only astronaut to go into space as part of Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle program, and the first to fly into space six times. He was 9th man to walk on moon.
He was born in San Francisco, California. He had earned degree in aeronautical engineering from Georgia Tech. Later he had joined US Navy. Later he took flight training. His first time in space came in 1965 with Gemini 3 mission that took him and astronaut Gus Grissom into Earth orbit in first two-man US space jaunt.
His NASA career spanned over 42 years, longer than any other astronaut’s. In 1965, he had flown the first manned Gemini mission and commanded another in 1966. In 1969, he became first person to orbit Moon alone for Apollo 10.
He also had driven Lunar Roving Vehicle on Moon’s surface during Apollo 16. He is one of only three people to have flown to the Moon twice. He also commanded two Space Shuttle flights, including its first launch in 1981, and served as Chief of Astronaut Office from 1974–1987. He retired from NASA in 2004.
The sole Marshal of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Arjan Singh passed away following cardiac arrest in New Delhi. He was 98. He was known for shaping IAF in its early years as well as during some of its most difficult junctures.
In 2002, on the occasion of Republic Day, he was granted honorary rank of Marshal, highest military rank attainable, which before him only two Army chiefs, K M Carriappa and Sam Manekshaw, had achieved.
Arjan Singh was born on April 15, 1919, in Lyalpur (now Faislabad, Pakistan). He had completed his education at Montgomery (now Sahiwal, Pakistan). He was selected to Empire Pilot training course at Royal AirForce (RAF) Cranwell at age of 19 years. He had served on different positions in RAF during British Rule.
On August 15, 1947, he had achieved a unique honour of leading a fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in Delhi. He had served as the IAF chief from August 1964 to 69. He was the first Indian Air Chief to be elevated to the rank of Air Chief Marshal in 1966.
He had led the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. He had launched IAF’s Operation Grand Slam that targeted at the vital town of Akhnoor of Pakistan. He retired in August 1969 and later was appointed as Ambassador of India to Switzerland and High Commissioner to Kenya. He also had served as Lieutenant Governor of New Delhi from 1989 to 1990.
Awards and Honours: In recognition of his lifelong services, Union government conferred the rank of the “Marshal of Indian Air Force” on him in 2002 making him the first and the only ‘Five Star’ rank officer with the IAF. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan for his astute leadership of the Air Force during the India-Pakistan war.