Mon July 4, 2011
Our own astronaut
By A Treasure Coast essay by Paul Janensch
Fort Pierce, FL – Forty years ago - on July 26, 1971 - the crew of the Apollo 15 mission blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center for the fourth manned lunar landing. One of the three astronauts on board was Al Worden, who now lives in Vero Beach with his wife Jill. You can bet he will be following the Atlantis mission to the International Space Station -- the final flight in the NASA shuttle program. Worden, now 79, is one of only 24 people who have flown to the Moon. While crew-mates David Scott and Jim Irwin bounced over the surface in the a Lunar Rover, Worden orbited the Moon alone, shooting photographs. On the homeward journey, Worden took the farthest-out space walk ever - 200-thousand miles from Earth - to retrieve film cassettes from the cameras. Later, the three astronauts were reprimanded by NASA for carrying commemorative first-day stamp covers to the Moon and selling some to a dealer. Worden entered and retired from business and still serves as chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. You can read about Worden's life in his new book "Falling to Earth," out this month. If you spot a grey Porsche with a license plate that says "Apollo 15," that's Al Worden's car. Give him up a thumb's up. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.
Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.