Al Worden, an engineer, astronaut and pilot of the command module on Apollo 15, in 1971, died on March 18, 2020. He was the first human being to do a spacewalk in “deep space”.
AI Worden was born on February 7, 1932, and died on March 18, 2020, at the age of 88. He was born in Jackson, Michigan. His initial education was made in that city until completing high school.
He was also a “boy scout” with all the honors of that organization. He received his degree in military science from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1955. Later, in 1963, he received a Master’s degree in aeronautical/astronautical engineering science and as an engineer in instrumentation from the University of Michigan, in 1963.
Al Worden – due to his military service – was a pilot, from March 1957 to May 1961. He had then more than 4,000 flight hours, including 2,500 hours on jets.
In April 1966 he was chosen as one of NASA’s 19 astronauts and supported the Apollo 9 crew on the command module and as a backup to pilot the command module for Apollo 12.
AI Worden goes to the moon
Engineer AI Worden was the pilot of the command module of the Apollo 15 mission. Thus, of the three astronauts on this mission to Earth’s natural satellite, he would be in charge of waiting for his two companions, who would be the ones to land the moon, take samples and they would return to the command module and then return to Earth.
It should be said that AI Worden was accompanied by David Scott, commander in chief of the mission and James B. Irwin, pilot of the lunar module. Apollo 15 was the fourth mission to land on the Moon and the first to visit the Apennines and Hadley Rille Mountains, located almost on the edge of Mare Imbrium (Sea of rains).
Apollo 15 had more records. For example, it is the mission that carried the most instrumentation to the Moon, in addition to being the longest stay of the lunar module on our satellite. The lunar module, called Falcon, spent 66 hours and 54 minutes on the surface of the Moon. It was also the first time a cart was used to traverse the lunar surface.
AI Worden and the Guinness Record
The Guinness World Record gave Worden the record for being “the most isolated human being” for his time in the Endeavor command module, in which he circled the moon 74 times and in where it has been calculated that Worden was once at a distance of 3597 km from any other human being.
Curiously, the astronaut would later declare that he enjoyed the three wonderful days I spent on the ship alone. The reason, he indicates, is that he was used to being a pilot of war jets, an activity that is often done alone. Worden received the Doctor Honoris Causa in Science degree from the University of Michigan in 1971.
Dr. Worden married Pamela Vander Beek, whom he met on a blind date in 1955 when he was still a cadet. The couple divorced in December 1969, just before Worden was selected to fly on Apollo 15.
He had a second marriage, now to Jill Lee Hotchkiss, whom he married in 1982. She died in 2014. She is survived by 3 daughters, Tamara Christians, Merrill Bohanning and Alison Penczak.
Al Worden died of a heart attack at an assistance center in Sugar Land, Texas.