NASA Remembers Apollo Astronaut Al Worden

Pablo Tucker
March 19, 2020

Worden was born February 7, 1932, in Jackson, Michigan.

Worden's family announced Wednesday that he died in his sleep in Houston.

Worden, who began his career as a U.S. Air Force test pilot working for famed aviator Chuck Yeager, was best known for circling the moon alone between July 30 and August 2, 1971, as fellow astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin explored the lunar surface. Worden was also the first person to perform a spacewalk in deep space. Though this was not illegal, NASA disapproved of such activities and made an example of the astronauts, grounding them from further spaceflights.


Worden was one of 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966.

Worden's post-NASA career included executive roles at Maris Worden Aerospace and Goodrich Aerospace.

"Al was an American hero whose achievements in space and on Earth will never be forgotten", said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. Eleven Apollo moon travelers are still living, including four moonwalkers. "During this time he earned a world record as "most isolated human being" while his crew mates roamed the lunar surface, and he was 2,235 miles away from anyone else", Bridenstine said in a statement.


Correction for 6:25 p.m. PT March 18: We've corrected the designation of Worden's mission in one reference. Not for a closer look at the Moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth'.

During 1972-1973, Worden was Senior Aerospace Scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center, and from 1973 to 1975, he was chief of the Systems Study Division at Ames.

The video below commemorates Colonel Worden.


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