Apollo 15 astro­naut Al Worden, who cir­cled moon, dies at 88

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - NEWS - By Mar­cia Dunn

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. >> Apollo 15 astro­naut Al Worden, who cir­cled the moon alone in 1971 while his two crew­mates test­drove the first lu­nar rover, died Wed­nes­day at age 88.

Worden died in his sleep at a re­hab cen­ter in Hous­ton fol­low­ing treat­ment for an in­fec­tion, said friend and col­league Tom Kall­man.

“Al was an Amer­i­can hero whose achieve­ments in space and on Earth will never be for­got­ten,” said NASA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Jim Bri­den­s­tine in a state­ment. He also praised Worden for his ap­pear­ances on “Mis­ter Rogers’ Neigh­bor­hood” to ex­plain his moon mis­sion to chil­dren.

Worden flew to the moon in 1971 along with David Scott and Jim Ir­win. As com­mand mod­ule pi­lot, Worden re­mained in lu­nar or­bit aboard the En­deav­our while Scott and Ir­win de­scended to the sur­face and tried out NASA’s first moon buggy.

Scott is one of four moon­walk­ers still alive. Ir­win died in 1991.

“‘Line of Grey, Be Thou at Peace!’ God­speed Al,” tweeted Apollo 11 moon­walker Buzz Aldrin, bor­row­ing from their West Point alma mater.

Once his moon­walk­ing crew­mates were back on board and headed home, Worden per­formed the first deep-space space­walk — nearly 200,000 miles (322,000 kilo­me­ters) from Earth. He in­spected the ser­vice mod­ule’s sci­ence in­stru­ment bay and re­trieved film. His foray out­side lasted just 38 min­utes.

Worden said of the mis­sion: “Now I know why I’m here. Not for a closer look at the Moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth.”

Apollo 15 was Worden’s only space­flight. He was in NASA’s fifth astro­naut class, cho­sen in 1966. He re­tired from NASA in 1975 and went to work for a few aero­space com­pa­nies.

Of the 24 men who flew to the moon from 1968 through 1972, only 11 are still alive.

Born and raised on a farm in Jack­son, Michi­gan, Worden grad­u­ated from the U.S. Mil­i­tary Acad­emy at West Point, New York, in 1955 and was com­mis­sioned in the Air Force. He at­tended test pi­lot school.

“As I was grow­ing up, avi­a­tion was not re­ally some­thing that was fore­most in my mind,” Worden said in a 2000 oral his­tory for NASA. “From the age of 12 on, I ba­si­cally ran the farm, did all the field work, milked the cows, did all that un­til I left for col­lege.”

While in the Air Force, “I be­gan to re­al­ize that fly­ing was kind of my game. It was a thing that I was very at­tuned to.”

JA­SON WACHTER — ST. CLOUD TIMES VIA AP

On Nov. 12, 2014, Apollo 15as­tro­naut Al Worden wipes his hands af­ter cre­at­ing a cast of his hand prints that will be part of a per­ma­nent dis­play at Apollo High School in St. Cloud, Minn.

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