On March 18, NASA revealed that former astronaut Alfred M. Worden passed away in Texas. Worden was a command module pilot on the Apollo 15 lunar landing; he spent time in orbit while two other astronauts explored the Moon. During his more than 295 hours in space, NASA says Worden conducted three spacewalks to retrieve film from the Endeavour command module.
According to NASA, Worden was a Colonel in the United States Air Force where he served as an instructor and a test pilot before joining the space agency in 1966. Worden stayed in orbit while fellow astronauts James B Irwin, a lunar model pilot, and commander David Scott explored the Moon’s surface.
In a statement on Wednesday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said:
NASA sends its condolences to the family and loved ones of Apollo astronaut Al Worden, an astronaut whose achievements in space and on Earth will not be forgotten … Of his mission, Worden said, ‘Now I know why I’m here. Not for a closer look at the Moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth.’ We remember this pioneer whose work expanded our horizons.
Worden described his time in space, saying that he would go to the window and watch the Earth rise every time they came back around the Moon. In detailing this, Worden had said that it was a ‘pretty unique’ experience.
Worden eventually retired from active duty in 1975, only to later become vice present of BF Goodrich Aerospace Brecksville in Ohio and President of Maris Worden Aerospace, among other notable roles in the industry.