John Young, one of the most experienced astronauts in history, passed away at the age of 87 on Friday, following complications attributed to pneumonia, according to a statement released by NASA on Saturday.

Young began his historic career with NASA in 1962, when the Navy fighter pilot was among only nine chosen to carry the space agency’s banner as its second ever astronaut class.  From there, Young would go on to fly in not only the Gemini capsule, but the Apollo and even the space shuttle.  Young was the only astronaut to earn that distinction.

Today, NASA and the world have lost a pioneer,” acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement. “Astronaut John Young’s storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight; we will stand on his shoulders as we look toward the next human frontier.”

During Young’s decade spanning career with NASA, he flew in space on six separate occasions, two of which brought him to the moon, and once, all the way to its surface.  Of the 12 men to ever walk on the moon, Young was the ninth.