NASA Remembers Apollo Astronaut Al Worden

Katie Ramirez
March 21, 2020

Former astronaut Al Worden, who piloted the orbiting command module during the Apollo 15 moon landing in 1971, died Wednesday in Texas, NASA said.

Before joining NASA, Worden was a test pilot, instructor and colonel in the US Air Force, Bridenstine said.

Worden, who began his career as a U.S. Air Force test pilot working for famed aviator Chuck Yeager, was best known for circling the moon alone between July 30 and August 2, 1971, as fellow astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin explored the lunar surface.

Aside from tending the mothership during the moonwalks, Worden also made three spacewalks to retrieve film canisters from an instrument bay that had been installed in the Service Module - the first spacewalk in history to be conducted in deep space. NASA Jim Bridenstine in a statement.

As astronauts David Scott and James B. Irwin explored mountains during the 1971 mission, Worden circled around them. He spent more than 295 hours in space.

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Worden graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1955.

Worden eventually became senior aerospace scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in California.

"Every time I went around the moon, I would go to a window and watch the Earth rise, and that was quite unique", Worden said during an interview with Smithsonian magazine in 2011. He went on to study engineering and earn two master's degrees from the University of MI.

He became an astronaut in 1966, says his NASA biography.

"We remember this pioneer whose work expanded our horizons", he said.

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