As part of its “Countdown to Apollo at 50” celebration, the Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center will present “An Evening with Al Worden” on Monday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. in the museum’s Dome Theater.
Between July 26 to Aug. 7, 1971, Worden was the Endeavour command module pilot on Apollo 15, which was considered the most ambitious and most scientific of all the Apollo missions, setting several moon records for NASA including the longest lunar surface stay time, the longest lunar extravehicular activity, and the first use of a lunar roving vehicle.
Worden spent six days orbiting the moon, three of which he spent in isolation collecting data and conducting science experiments.
During that time, he photographed and mapped almost 25% of the lunar surface, the first time it had ever been accomplished.
On the return trip, he was the first person to space walk in deep space outside the command module for a total of 38 minutes.
Worden is also one of only 24 people who have ever flown to the Moon.
A highly sought-after motivational speaker and bestselling author of three books, Worden will engage the audience, sharing the excitement of his experiences and inspiring the next generation to excel in science, engineering and exploration.
Worden was born in Jackson, Mich. He received a bachelor of military science degree in 1955 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and he earned M.S. degrees in astronautical and aeronautical engineering and in instrumentation engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1963.
He was a U.S. Air Force pilot and a commercial test pilot before joining the space program in 1966.
During the Apollo 15 mission, he orbited the Moon while commander David Scott and lunar module pilot James Irwin descended to the moon’s surface.
On the return trip, Worden took a spacewalk — at what was then the record distance from Earth for such activity, about 315,000 km (196,000 miles) — retrieving cassettes containing films of the Moon from the rear of a sub-satellite that they had sent into orbit two days previously.
After serving at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., from 1972 to 1975, Worden resigned from the Air Force and the space program to enter private enterprises in Colorado and Florida.
He wrote two books in 1974, a book of poetry, “Hello Earth — Greetings from Endeavour,” and a children’s book, “I Want to Know About a Flight to the Moon.” He also wrote “Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut’s Journey to the Moon” in 2011.
In a foreword to “Falling to Earth,” Fred Rogers says of Worden, “Of course he’s a great scientist, but one of the great things about him is that he uses his gift of communication to make traveling in space so much more comprehensible to those of us who stay on Earth.”
The Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center is home to over 75 planes and spacecraft representing over 100 years of aviation history and Long Island’s only Giant Screen Dome Theater.
Currently, the museum is celebrating “Countdown to Apollo at 50,” sponsored by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, showcasing Long Island and Grumman’s significant role in the Apollo program.
The museum was recently recognized and listed on New York State’s National Register of Historic Places as a significant part of American history.
The Cradle of Aviation Museum is located on Museum Row, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., in East Garden City. For more information, call 516-572-4111 or visit www.cradleofaviation.org.
Tickets to Worden’s event are are $20 or $15 for museum members. Seating is limited. Call 516-572-4066 for reservations or go to http://bit.ly/2Nso4Jt to purchase advance tickets.