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Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’

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Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’
« on: April 24, 2013, 08:59:34 PM »
Space Station | 2 April 2013

Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’

Richard Hollingham

Seven men in the history of humanity stand apart from the rest of us. These are the Apollo command module pilots who spent time alone in orbit around the Moon, while their colleagues walked on the lunar surface. When they were on the far side of the Moon, these astronauts were completely out of contact, and further from Earth, than anyone had ever been before. Or has ever been since.


No turning back
On 26 July 1971 Apollo 15 blasted in orbit from the Kennedy Space Center, at Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Copyright: Nasa)


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Re: Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2013, 09:02:22 PM »
Only five of these people are still alive and, when I meet him, Apollo 15 command module pilot Al Worden still looks every bit the veteran astronaut. Even in the unlikely surroundings of a crowded restaurant in Yorkshire, in northern England, this former test pilot stands out – an alpha male holding court, surrounded by a group of admirers eagerly hanging on his every word.


All aboard
On board were Commander David Scott, Command Module Pilot Alfred Worden and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin. (Copyright: Nasa)


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Re: Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2013, 09:05:40 PM »

Alone
Four days after launch, Scott and Irwin descended to the lunar surface, leaving Worden orbiting in the command module. (Copyright: Nasa)


Worden flew to the Moon in July 1971, alongside commander Dave Scott and lunar module pilot Jim Irwin. During his time alone on the command module he entered the record books as the "most isolated human being" ever  - at times his companions being 3,600km (2,235 miles) away on the lunar surface.

for the interview with Al Worden, please go to http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130401-the-loneliest-human-being

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Re: Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2013, 09:08:41 PM »

Explorer's drive     
Apollo 15 was the first of the ‘J missions’, with long stays on the Moon and a greater focus on science. It was also the first mission to use a Lunar Rover. (Copyright: Nasa)


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Re: Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2013, 09:12:45 PM »

Endurance test
The two astronauts spent nearly three days on the Moon, of which nearly one third was spent outside the Lunar Module Falcon (Copyright: Nasa)


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Re: Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2013, 09:14:18 PM »

Map maker
Meanwhile, Worden spent around 20 hours a day doing science, including mapping and photographing the lunar surface. (Copyright: Nasa)


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Re: Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2013, 09:16:16 PM »

Return to sender
Falcon lifted off from the lunar surface on 2 August to rendezvous with Worden and the Command Module Endeavour. (Copyright: Nasa)


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Re: Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2013, 09:17:52 PM »

Welcome back
The view of Falcon as seen by Worden from Endeavour during rendezvous. The crew spent one more day in Lunar orbit after docking. (Copyright: Nasa)


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Re: Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2013, 09:19:23 PM »

Out and about
On the way back to Earth, Worden completed a space walk to retrieve film from cameras on the module. This shot was taken by Jim Irwin. (Copyright: Nasa)


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Re: Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2013, 09:21:16 PM »

Splash down
Although only two of the three parachutes on the return capsule deployed, the crew landed safey into the Pacific Ocean on 7 August 1971, 13 days after launch. (Copyright: Nasa)


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Re: Al Worden: ‘The loneliest human being’
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2013, 09:36:07 PM »
then:




now:




There’s a thing about being alone and there’s a thing about being lonely, and they’re two different things. I was alone but I was not lonely. My background was as a fighter pilot in the airforce, then as a test pilot – and that was mostly in fighter airplanes – so I was very used to being by myself. I thoroughly enjoyed it. - Alfred Worden, Command Module Pilot, Apollo 15

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