Apollo Astronaut Al Worden to present Maeva Metz with Astronaut Scholarship; speak about his experiences Sept. 22


Al Worden, Command Module pilot for the Apollo 15 lunar mission, is one of only 24 people to have flown to the moon (photo courtesy ASF).

Colonel Al Worden, USAF, Ret., will present senior Maeva Metz with a $10,000 scholarship and will share his experiences as the Command Module pilot for the Apollo 15 lunar mission at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, in Hall Auditorium.

Metz, a senior microbiology major and molecular biology minor from Brookfield, Conn., is one of 38 students nationwide to be selected for the 2015-2016 scholarship by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF).


Astronaut Scholar Maeva Metz

Worden served as Command Module pilot on the 1971 Apollo 15 moon mission, during which he orbited the moon and took a spacewalk 200,000 miles from Earth.

Worden was backup Command Module pilot on Apollo 12 before being named to the prime crew of Apollo 15, along with Commander David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin.

The trio blasted off on July 26, 1971, and Worden orbited the moon alone for three days in the command ship Endeavour while Scott and Irwin explored a mountainous region on the edge of the Mare Imbrium, driving the first Lunar Rover on the surface.

During this “lonesome” period, Worden remotely photographed the moon’s surface with two special cameras mounted outside the ship. On the homeward journey, Worden took the farthest-out space walk, moving along handrails on the outside of Endeavour to the rear of the ship to retrieve film cassettes from the two moon-mapping cameras.


Apollo 15 mission patch

The stroll was necessary because the Service Module section to which the cameras were mounted would be jettisoned to burn up before reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Following Apollo 15, and before retiring in 1975 from NASA and from the Air Force as a colonel, Worden was senior aerospace scientist and later chief of the Systems Studies Division at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.


Worden sits inside the Command Module mock-up during training before the Apollo 15 mission (photo: NASA via Retro Space Images)

Before his retirement from the business world in 1996, Worden held executive positions with Jet Electronics and Technology Inc., and with BFGoodrich Corp.

Worden, a former chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2009, he was honored by NASA with the Ambassador of Exploration Award for his significant contributions towards America’s goal of moon exploration.

He has authored three books about his space travels, including a book of poetry Hello Earth! Greetings from Endeavor! and Falling to Earth.

Worden's talk, free and open to the public, is sponsored by Miami’s honors program.