Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut's Journey to the Moon

Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut's Journey to the Moon

Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut's Journey to the Moon

Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut's Journey to the Moon


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As command module pilot for the Apollo 15 mission to the moon in 1971, Al Worden flew on what is widely regarded as the greatest exploration mission that humans have ever attempted. He spent six days orbiting the moon, including three days completely alone, the most isolated human in existence. During the return from the moon to earth he also conducted the first spacewalk in deep space, becoming the first human ever to see both the entire earth and moon simply by turning his head. The Apollo 15 flight capped an already-impressive career as an astronaut, including important work on the pioneering Apollo 9 and Apollo 12 missions, as well as the perilous flight of Apollo 13.

Nine months after his return from the moon, Worden received a phone call telling him he was fired and ordering him out of his office by the end of the week. He refused to leave. What happened in those nine months, from being honored with parades and meetings with world leaders to being unceremoniously fired, has been a source of much speculation for four decades. Worden has never before told the full story around the dramatic events that shook NASA and ended his spaceflight career. Readers will learn them here for the first time, along with the exhilarating account of what it is like to journey to the moon and back. It's an unprecedentedly candid account of what it was like to be an Apollo astronaut, with all its glory but also its pitfalls.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588343338
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
Publication date: 07/24/2012
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 1,066,767
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.82(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

AL WORDEN served as a support crew member for Apollo 9, backup command module pilot for Apollo 12, and command module pilot for Apollo 15's mission July 26 - August 7, 1971. After retirement from active duty in 1975, Worden spent years in private industry before becoming the Chair of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.  He lives in Vero Beach, Florida. FRANCIS FRENCH is director of education for the San Diego Air & Space Museum and co-author of the award-winning books Into that Silent Sea and In the Shadow of the Moon.

Table of Contents

Foreword Dick Gordon vii

Preface xi

1 Farmer 1

2 Soldier 16

3 Aviator 30

4 Astronaut 60

5 The Fire 87

6 Unveiling the Moon 110

7 Training and Temptation 138

8 Launch 156

9 Earthrise 177

10 Falling to Earth 200

11 Celebration 220

12 Ruin 242

13 Redemption 259

14 A New Tranquility 274

Epilogue Tom Stafford 280

Acknowledgments 282

Index 285

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