Alfred Worden bigraphy, stories - American astronaut

Alfred Worden : biography

February 7, 1932 -

Alfred Merrill Worden (born February 7, 1932) is an American astronaut who was the command module pilot for the Apollo 15 lunar mission in 1971. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon.

Personal life

Worden married Pamela Vander Beek, whom he met on a blind date while a cadet, in June 1955. The couple divorced in December 1969 just before Worden was selected to fly on Apollo 15. Worden married Jill Lee Hotchkiss in July 1982. He has three children. His recreational interests include bowling, water skiing, golf and racquet ball.

Stamp incident

After the return of Apollo 15 to Earth, it was discovered that, without authority, the crew had taken 398 commemorative postal covers to the moon. Of these, 100 were then sold to a German stamp dealer. The profits of the sale would have been used to establish trust funds for the crew's children. Although their action was not in any way illegal, and despite the fact that NASA had turned a blind eye to similar activities on earlier flights, NASA administration decided to make an example of Scott and his crew and none of them flew in space again.

In 1982, Worden ran for the United States House of Representatives in Florida's 12th congressional district but lost the Republican primary to state senator Tom Lewis. He sold some of the postal covers to pay for debts from this unsuccessful campaign.

Worden received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1971.

In popular culture

In the 1998 HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, Worden was played by Michael Raynor.


The son of Merrill and Helen Worden, he was born in Jackson, Michigan. Worden attended Dibble, Griswold, Bloomfield and East Jackson grade schools and completed his secondary education at Jackson High School. He received a bachelor of military science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1955 and master of science degrees in Astronautical/Aeronautical Engineering and Instrumentation Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1963. He also received an honorary doctorate of science in Astronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1971.

Military career

Worden graduated from the United States Military Academy in June 1955 and, after being commissioned in the Air Force, received flight training at Moore Air Force Base, Texas; Laredo Air Force Base, Texas; and Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

He attended Randolph Air Force Base Instrument Pilots Instructor School in 1963 and served as a pilot and armament officer from March 1957 to May 1961 with the 95th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.

Prior to his arrival for duty at the Johnson Space Center, he served as an instructor at the Aerospace Research Pilots School from which he graduated in September 1965. He is also a February 1965 graduate of the Empire Test Pilots' School in Farnborough, England.

He has logged more than 4,000 hours flying time—which includes 2,500 hours in jets.

NASA career

Worden was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He served as a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo 9 flight and as backup command module pilot for the Apollo 12 flight.

Worden served as command module pilot for Apollo 15, which flew from July 26 to August 7, 1971. His companions on the flight were David Scott, spacecraft commander, and James B. Irwin, lunar module pilot. Apollo 15 was the fourth manned lunar landing mission and the first to visit and explore the moon's Hadley Rille and Montes Apenninus which are located on the southeast edge of the Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains). Apollo 15's achievements include the largest payloads placed in earth and lunar orbits, the first scientific instrument module bay flown and operated on an Apollo spacecraft, the longest lunar surface stay time (the lunar module, Falcon, remained on ground for 66 hours and 54 minutes), the longest lunar surface EVA (Scott and Irwin logged 18 hours and 35 minutes each during three excursions onto the lunar surface), the longest distance traversed on lunar surface, the first use of the lunar roving vehicle, the first use of a lunar surface navigation device (mounted on Rover-1), the first subsatellite launched in lunar orbit, and the first EVA from a command module during transearth coast.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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