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List of Apollo astronauts

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

Eugene Cernan operating the Lunar rover during Apollo 17
Eugene Cernan operating the Lunar rover during Apollo 17

This is a list of all astronauts directly associated with NASA's Apollo program. A total of thirty-eight astronauts flew in an Apollo spacecraft, twenty-nine of whom were part of the Apollo program, the rest being Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz astronauts. Twenty-four of the Apollo program astronauts left Earth's orbit and flew around the Moon (Apollo 7 and Apollo 9 did not leave low Earth orbit).

Twelve of those astronauts landed on the Moon and walked on its surface, and six of those drove a lunar rover on the Moon. While three astronauts had flown to the Moon twice, none of them landed on the Moon more than once. The nine Apollo missions to the moon all occurred between December 1968 and December 1972.

Apart from those twenty-four people who visited the moon, no human being has ever left low Earth orbit. They have, therefore, been farther from the Earth than anyone else. They are also the only people to have seen the far side of the Moon directly. The twelve who walked on the moon are the only people ever to have set foot on an astronomical object other than the Earth.

Project Apollo fatalities

Apollo 1 Crew (L-R: Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee)
Apollo 1 Crew (L-R: Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee)

Although there were no in-flight fatalities in the Apollo program, three astronauts died in a training accident in what was later called Apollo 1.

They were trapped in a capsule on the launch pad when a fire broke out. The 100 percent oxygen atmosphere and flammable materials were cited as factors worsening the wiring-short sparked fire, while the hatch design precluded any hope of a timely escape. Numerous redesigns were incorporated into the spacecraft before manned flights resumed.

  1. Virgil "Gus" Grissom - According to Deke Slayton, who assigned crews to flights during most of Apollo, Grissom would have been his choice to be the first to walk on the moon.
  1. Edward White
  2. Roger B. Chaffee

Other related fatalities in the Apollo program

  1. Edward Givens - Car accident near Houston, Texas on June 6, 1967; was on support crew of Apollo 7
  2. Clifton Williams - Plane crash near Tallahassee, Florida on October 5, 1967; was chosen as backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 9.

People who have walked on the Moon

As of 2009, twelve people have walked on the Moon. No one has walked on the Moon since 1972.

Name Born Died Age at
First Step
Mission Lunar EVA dates Employer
1 Neil Armstrong August 5, 1930 38y 11m 15d Apollo 11 July 21, 1969[3] NASA[4]
2 Buzz Aldrin January 20, 1930 39y 6m 0d Air Force
3 Pete Conrad June 2, 1930 July 8, 1999 39y 5m 17d Apollo 12 November 19–20, 1969 Navy
4 Alan Bean March 15, 1932 37y 8m 4d Navy
5 Alan Shepard November 18, 1923 July 21, 1998 47y 2m 18d Apollo 14 February 5–6, 1971 Navy
6 Edgar Mitchell September 17, 1930 40y 4m 19d Navy
7 David Scott June 6, 1932 39y 1m 25d Apollo 15 July 31 – August 2, 1971 Air Force
8 James Irwin March 17, 1930 August 8, 1991 41y 4m 14d Air Force
9 John W. Young September 24, 1930 41y 6m 28d Apollo 16 April 21–23, 1972 Navy
10 Charles Duke October 3, 1935 36y 6m 18d Air Force
11 Eugene Cernan March 14, 1934 38y 9m 7d Apollo 17 December 11–14, 1972 Navy
12 Harrison Schmitt July 3, 1935 37y 5m 8d NASA

Regarding "the last man to walk on the moon", Schmitt is the last man to arrive (as Cernan got out of the Apollo Lunar Module first), but Cernan is the last man to leave (after final EVA, Schmitt went inside the module first). Duke was the youngest, at age 36 (+6mo); Shepard was the oldest, at age 47 (+2mo).

James A. Lovell, John Young, and Eugene Cernan are the only three astronauts to fly more than one lunar mission (two each). Of these three, only Lovell did not walk on the lunar surface. Lovell and Fred Haise were prevented from walking on the Moon by the malfunction on Apollo 13 that resulted in the mission being aborted.

Joe Engle had also trained to explore the Moon with Cernan as the backup crew for Apollo 14, but Engle was later replaced by geologist Harrison Schmitt when the primary crew for Apollo 17 was selected. Schmitt had been crewed with Dick Gordon in anticipation for Apollo 18. But when Apollo 18 was canceled, Schmitt bumped Engle, leaving Gordon as the last Apollo astronaut who had trained extensively for lunar exploration without ever getting a chance to fly a lunar landing.

People who flew around the Moon without landing

On each of the missions listed above one astronaut orbited the Moon while the other two landed. In addition each of the Apollo 8, Apollo 10, and Apollo 13 missions had a three-person crew and closely encountered the Moon (entering orbit in the case of the former two missions, while Apollo 13 only passed around it). Thus twelve more people have been within a few hundred kilometres of the Moon (along with Young and Cernan who flew out to the Moon and back without landing, but landed on subsequent missions):

Apollo 8 was the first manned mission to reach the Moon (Frank Borman, center)
Apollo 8 was the first manned mission to reach the Moon (Frank Borman, center)
  1. Frank Borman - Apollo 8
  2. Jim Lovell - Apollo 8, Apollo 13 (intended to land)
  3. William Anders - Apollo 8
  4. Tom Stafford - Apollo 10
  5. John Young - Apollo 10 (later landed on Apollo 16)
  6. Eugene Cernan - Apollo 10 (later landed on Apollo 17)
  7. Michael Collins - Apollo 11
  8. Dick Gordon - Apollo 12 (had been slated to land on Apollo 18)
  9. Jack Swigert - Apollo 13
  10. Fred Haise - Apollo 13 (intended to land; had been slated to land on Apollo 19)
  11. Stuart Roosa - Apollo 14 (he had also been slated to land on the moon with Apollo 20)
  12. Al Worden - Apollo 15
  13. Ken Mattingly - Apollo 16
  14. Ronald Evans - Apollo 17

Other Apollo astronauts

Dave Scott's spacewalk on Apollo 9
Dave Scott's spacewalk on Apollo 9

Apollo 7 and Apollo 9 orbited the Earth only; therefore these five Apollo astronauts never went to the Moon:

  1. Walter Schirra - Apollo 7
  2. Donn Eisele - Apollo 7 (was on backup-crew for Apollo 10)
  3. Walter Cunningham - Apollo 7
  4. James McDivitt - Apollo 9
  5. Rusty Schweickart - Apollo 9 (was on backup-crew for Skylab 2)

(David Scott from Apollo 9 went on to land on the Moon in Apollo 15.)

Backup crewmembers who never flew an Apollo flight

Each Apollo flight had a backup crew who trained to carry out the mission if the original crew was unable to fly. Only one backup crew member was ever used: Jack Swigert switched places with Ken Mattingly after Mattingly had been exposed to German measles a few days prior to the launch of Apollo 13. (Mattingly later flew aboard Apollo 16). However, shortly before the launch of Apollo 17, Eugene Cernan badly injured his leg playing softball and only just recovered in time for the mission. Had he been unable to fly he would have been replaced by back-up commander John Young, who would have become the only man to walk on the moon twice and would have done so on consecutive missions.

  1. Gordon Cooper - backup commander for Apollo 10 - lost the primary commander slot on Apollo 14 to Alan Shepard, and resigned from NASA in 1970.
  2. Joe Henry Engle - backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 14 - lost the primary pilot slot on Apollo 17 to Harrison Schmitt after the cancellation of Apollo 18. Engle later flew on the Space Shuttle Enterprise and commanded STS-2 with astronaut Richard Truly in 1981. He also commanded Discovery on STS-51-I in 1985.

Astronauts who flew on Apollo, listed by class

A chart showing astronaut assignments leading up to and during the Apollo era.
A chart showing astronaut assignments leading up to and during the Apollo era.

From the Mercury Seven

From Astronaut Group 2

From Astronaut Group 3

From Astronaut Group 4

From Astronaut Group 5

In addition, the following astronauts flew on post-Apollo missions using Apollo hardware:

From the Mercury Seven

From Astronaut Group 4

From Astronaut Group 5

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Published in July 2009.

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