List of Apollo astronauts

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Eugene Cernan operating the Lunar rover during Apollo 17

Thirty-two astronauts were assigned to fly in the Apollo manned lunar landing program. Twenty-four of these left Earth’s orbit and flew around the Moon (Apollo 1 never launched and Apollo 7 and Apollo 9 were low Earth orbit spacecraft testing missions). In addition, nine astronauts flew Apollo spacecraft in the Apollo Applications Programs Skylab and Apollo–Soyuz Test Project.

Twelve of these astronauts walked on the Moon’s surface, and six of those drove a lunar rover on the Moon. While three astronauts flew to the Moon twice, none of them landed on the Moon more than once. The nine Apollo missions to the Moon occurred between December 1968 and December 1972.

Apart from these 24 people who visited the Moon, no human being has gone beyond low Earth orbit. They have, therefore, been farther from the Earth than anyone else. They are also the only people to have directly viewed the far side of the Moon. The twelve who walked on the Moon are the only people ever to have set foot on an astronomical object other than the Earth.

Of the 24 astronauts who flew to the Moon, two went on to command a Skylab mission, one commanded Apollo–Soyuz, one flew as commander for shuttle approach and landing tests and two went on to command orbital shuttle missions. A total of 24 Apollo-era astronauts (as well as pre-Apollo astronaut John Glenn) flew on the space shuttle.

Prime crew members[edit]

NASA's Director of Flight Crew Operations during the Gemini and Apollo programs was Donald K. "Deke" Slayton, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, who was medically grounded in September 1962 due to a minor cardiac arrythmia - paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Slayton was responsible for making all Gemini and Apollo crew assignments. In March 1972, Slayton was restored to flight status, and flew on the 1975 Apollo–Soyuz Test Project mission.

The prime crew members selected for actual missions are here grouped by their NASA astronaut selection groups, and within each group in the order selected for flight.

From the Mercury Seven[edit]

(L to R) Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Grissom, Schirra, Shepard, and Slayton
  • Virgil "Gus" Grissom – Pilot of Liberty Bell 7 and commander of the first manned Gemini 3, was selected in 1966 to command the first manned mission, Apollo 1, a low Earth orbit test of the Apollo Command/Service Module. This mission ended a month before its scheduled launch,[1] when a cabin fire on the launch pad killed Grissom and his entire crew--Edward H. White and Roger Chaffee--on January 27, 1967. According to Slayton, Grissom would have been his choice to be the first to walk on the Moon.[2][3]
  • Walter M. Schirra, Jr. – Pilot of Sigma 7 and commander of Gemini 6A, was selected to command a second CSM test flight which was canceled in late 1966, at which time he was reassigned as Grissom's backup. Twenty-one months after the Apollo 1 fire, Schirra commanded the first CSM test flight, Apollo 7.
  • Alan B. Shepard, Jr. – America's first man in space on Freedom 7 was originally selected to command Gemini 3, but was medically grounded for the duration of Gemini due to Ménière's disease and assisted Slayton in Flight Operations. After corrective surgery, Shepard was restored to flight status and commanded Apollo 14, the third successful Moon landing mission.

From Astronaut Group 2[edit]

NASA Astronaut Group 2: Back row: Elliot M. See (died in Gemini training), McDivitt, Lovell, White, & Stafford. Front row: Conrad, Borman, Armstrong, & Young

All of these astronauts had flown on Gemini, and except for White, each commanded one Gemini and one Apollo mission:

  • Edward H. White - Second-seat veteran of Gemini 4 who made the United States' first walk in space, selected as Senior Pilot (second seat) on Apollo 1. White was killed with Grissom and Chaffee in the fire.
  • James A. McDivitt – Commander of Gemini 4, selected in late 1966 to command the first Earth orbital flight test of the Apollo Lunar Module with the CSM. This mission flew in March 1969 as Apollo 9. After his flight, McDivitt was promoted to Manager of Lunar Landing Operations, and in August 1969 was promoted to Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program.
  • Frank Borman – Commander of Gemini 7, selected to command a higher Earth orbit test of the complete Apollo spacecraft. But when delays prevented the LM from being ready in time for its first flight in December 1968, Borman's mission was changed to the first lunar orbital flight of the CSM on Apollo 8.
  • James A. Lovell, Jr. – Second-seat veteran of Gemini 7, and commander of Gemini 12, flew as Command Module Pilot (second seat) on Apollo 8. Lovell became the first to fly a second Apollo mission as commander of Apollo 13, the third lunar landing attempt. This mission was unsuccessful, due to a Service Module electrical system failure caused by the explosion of an oxygen tank. Lovell and his crew managed to return to Earth safely.
  • Thomas P. Stafford – Second-seat veteran of Gemini 6A and commander of Gemini 9A, commanded a lunar orbital test of the Lunar Module on Apollo 10.
  • John W. Young – Second-seat veteran of Gemini 3 and commander of Gemini 10, flew as Command Module Pilot on Apollo 10. Young later commanded the successful Apollo 16 lunar landing.
  • Neil A. Armstrong – Commander of Gemini 8, commanded Apollo 11, becoming the first man to set foot on the Moon.
  • Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr. – Second-seat veteran of Gemini 5 and commander of Gemini 11, commanded Apollo 12, the second lunar landing.

From Astronaut Group 3[edit]

NASA Astronaut Group 3

This was the first class of astronauts for which test pilot experience was not required, but military jet fighter pilot experience was acceptable.

Five of this group got their first spaceflight experience as second seat on Gemini:

The remaining six members of this group were selected for their first space flights on Apollo:

From Astronaut Group 4[edit]

Dr. Harrison Schmitt (seated, center) became NASA's first scientist astronaut to fly in space.

In June 1965, NASA named a group of five scientist astronauts, the first group qualified by doctorate degrees rather than test or military fighter pilot experience.[4] Geologist Dr. Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt participated heavily in the geological training of the lunar landing astronauts, as well as assisting in the analysis of returned samples and the preparation of mission reports. In 1970, he was selected as Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 15 backup crew, and prime crew on Apollo 18. When program cutbacks cancelled missions 18 through 20, NASA's lunar geological community insisted on having a geologist on the Moon, so Slayton reassigned Schmitt to Apollo 17.

From Astronaut Group 5[edit]

NASA Astronaut Group 5

NASA named a group of 19 more astronauts in April 1966. None had spaceflight experience before their Apollo mission.

Other astronauts who trained for Apollo but did not fly[edit]

Apollo astronauts who walked on the Moon[edit]

Twelve men have walked on the Moon – eight of whom are still alive. All of the landings took place between July 1969 and December 1972 as part of the Apollo program.

Name Born Died Age at
first step
Mission Lunar EVA dates Service Alma Mater
01. Neil Armstrong (1930-08-05)August 5, 1930 August 25, 2012(2012-08-25) (aged 82) 38y 11m 15d Apollo 11 July 21, 1969[6] NASA[7] Purdue University, University of Southern California
02. Buzz Aldrin (1930-01-20) January 20, 1930 (age 84) 39y 6m 0d Air Force United States Military Academy, MIT
03. Pete Conrad (1930-06-02)June 2, 1930 July 8, 1999(1999-07-08) (aged 69) 39y 5m 17d Apollo 12 November 19–20, 1969 Navy Princeton University
04. Alan Bean (1932-03-15) March 15, 1932 (age 82) 37y 8m 4d Navy University of Texas, Austin
05. Alan Shepard (1923-11-18)November 18, 1923 July 21, 1998(1998-07-21) (aged 74) 47y 2m 18d Apollo 14 February 5–6, 1971 Navy United States Naval Academy, Naval War College
06. Edgar Mitchell (1930-09-17) September 17, 1930 (age 83) 40y 4m 19d Navy Carnegie Mellon University, Naval Postgraduate School, MIT
07. David Scott (1932-06-06) June 6, 1932 (age 82) 39y 1m 25d Apollo 15 July 31 – August 2, 1971 Air Force University of Michigan (freshman year, and later, an honorary doctorate), United States Military Academy, MIT
08. James Irwin (1930-03-17)March 17, 1930 August 8, 1991(1991-08-08) (aged 61) 41y 4m 14d Air Force United States Naval Academy, University of Michigan
09. John W. Young (1930-09-24) September 24, 1930 (age 83) 41y 6m 28d Apollo 16 April 21–23, 1972 Navy Georgia Institute of Technology
10. Charles Duke (1935-10-03) October 3, 1935 (age 78) 36y 6m 18d Air Force United States Naval Academy, MIT
11. Eugene Cernan (1934-03-14) March 14, 1934 (age 80) 38y 9m 7d Apollo 17 December 11–14, 1972 Navy Purdue University, Naval Postgraduate School
12. Harrison Schmitt (1935-07-03) July 3, 1935 (age 79) 37y 5m 8d NASA Caltech, University of Oslo (exchange), Harvard University

Regarding "the last man to walk on the Moon", Schmitt is the last person to step onto the Moon (as Cernan got out of the Apollo Lunar Module first), but Cernan is the last person to step off the Moon (after final EVA (extra-vehicular activity), Schmitt went inside the module first). Duke was the youngest, at age 36 (+6mo); Shepard was the oldest, at age 47 (+2mo).

James A. Lovell, John W. Young and Eugene Cernan are the only three astronauts to fly more than one lunar mission (two each). Of these three, only Lovell did not walk on the lunar surface. Lovell and Fred Haise were prevented from walking on the Moon by the malfunction on Apollo 13 that resulted in the mission being aborted. Haise was scheduled to walk on the Moon as commander of Apollo 19 prior to that mission’s cancellation on September 2, 1970.

Joe Engle had also trained to explore the Moon with Cernan as the backup crew for Apollo 14, but Engle was later replaced by geologist Harrison Schmitt when the primary crew for Apollo 17 was selected. Schmitt had been crewed with Dick Gordon in anticipation for Apollo 18. When Apollo 18 was canceled, Schmitt bumped Engle, leaving Gordon as the last Apollo astronaut who had trained extensively for lunar exploration without ever getting a chance to fly a lunar landing.

Apollo astronauts who flew to the Moon without landing[edit]

Twelve more people have been within a few hundred kilometers of the Moon. On each of the missions listed above one astronaut orbited the Moon while the other two landed. In addition, the Apollo 8, Apollo 10, and Apollo 13 missions had a three-person crew and closely encountered the Moon, entering orbit in the case of the former two missions, while Apollo 13 only passed around it.

John Young and Eugene Cernan both flew to the Moon twice, each setting foot on it as part of their second journey, while Jim Lovell is the only human to have flown to the Moon twice without landing on it.

As a result of their free return trajectory, Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise jointly hold the record for humans' farthest distance from the Earth, having reached an altitude of 400,171 km (248,655 mi) above sea level on 0:21 UTC on 15 April 1970; at that moment, they likewise flew higher above the surface of the Moon's far side (at 254 km (158 mi)) than any other humans have flown.

Name Born Died Age on mission Mission Mission dates Service Notes
1. Frank Borman (1928-03-14) March 14, 1928 (age 86) 40 Apollo 8 December 21–27, 1968 Air Force
2. Jim Lovell (1928-03-25) March 25, 1928 (age 86) 40 Navy also flew on Apollo 13
3. Bill Anders (1933-10-17) October 17, 1933 (age 80) 35 Air Force
4. Tom Stafford (1930-09-17) September 17, 1930 (age 83) 38 Apollo 10 May 18–26, 1969 Air Force later flew on Apollo–Soyuz Test Project
John Young (1930-09-24) September 24, 1930 (age 83) 38 Navy landed on Apollo 16; later flew two space shuttle missions
Eugene Cernan (1934-03-14) March 14, 1934 (age 80) 35 Navy landed on Apollo 17
5. Michael Collins (1930-10-31) October 31, 1930 (age 83) 38 Apollo 11 July 16–24, 1969 Air Force
6. Dick Gordon (1929-10-05) October 5, 1929 (age 84) 40 Apollo 12 November 14–24, 1969 Navy trained to land, slated for Apollo 18 (cancelled)[8]
Jim Lovell (1928-03-25) March 25, 1928 (age 86) 42 Apollo 13 April 11–17, 1970 Navy already flown on Apollo 8; intended to land
7. Jack Swigert (1931-08-30)August 30, 1931 December 27, 1982(1982-12-27) (aged 51) 38 NASA
8. Fred Haise (1933-11-14) November 14, 1933 (age 80) 36 NASA[9] intended to land; later trained to land and slated for Apollo 19 (cancelled);[8] flew shuttle on approach / landing tests
9. Stu Roosa (1933-08-16)August 16, 1933 December 12, 1994(1994-12-12) (aged 61) 37 Apollo 14 January 31 – February 9, 1971 Air Force in rotation to land on Apollo 20 (cancelled)
10. Al Worden (1932-02-07) February 7, 1932 (age 82) 39 Apollo 15 July 26 – August 7, 1971 Air Force
11. Ken Mattingly (1936-03-17) March 17, 1936 (age 78) 36 Apollo 16 April 16–27, 1972 Navy later flew two space shuttle missions.
12. Ron Evans (1933-11-10)November 10, 1933 April 7, 1990(1990-04-07) (aged 56) 39 Apollo 17 December 7–19, 1972 Navy

References[edit]

  1. ^ George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator of the Office of Manned Spaceflight, issued a directive on April 24, 1967, that the mission would be officially recorded as Apollo 1, "first manned Apollo Saturn flight - failed on ground test." Ertel, Ivan D.; Newkirk, Roland W.; Brooks, Courtney G. (1978). "Vol.11, part 1 (1967 Mar/Apr), March 25 - April 24". NASA SP-4009: The Apollo Spacecraft – A Chronology. NASA. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  2. ^ Zornio, Mary C. Detailed Biographies of Apollo I Crew - "Gus Grissom", NASA, accessed July 19, 2006.
  3. ^ Slayton, Donald K; Cassutt, Michael (1994). Deke!: U.S. Manned Space from Mercury to the Shuttle (1st ed.). New York City: Forge: St. Martin's Press. p. 234. ISBN 0-312-85503-6. LCCN 94-2463. OCLC 29845663. 
  4. ^ Note: Edwin Aldrin and Eugene Cernan were selected for Group 3 without having been test pilots, though both were fighter pilots in the Air Force and Navy respectively.
  5. ^ "Footagevault, Project MOCR". 
  6. ^ This date is based on GMT. Americans alive at the time remember it as the night of July 20, 1969 (Armstrong set foot on the Moon at 10:56 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time), but the official NASA chronology was kept in GMT, so the first step was 2:56 a.m. on the 21st: [1]
  7. ^ Armstrong had left the US Navy and was already a NASA employee when he and Elliot See became the first civilian astronauts in Astronaut Group 2. See Armstrong's NASA biography and a description of his receiving a NASA award, among others.
  8. ^ a b "Apollo 18 through 20 - The Cancelled Missions", Dr. David R. Williams, NASA, accessed July 19, 2006.
  9. ^ "Astronaut Bio: Fred Haise". NASA. January 1996. Retrieved 21 March 2009.