This week’s FINN flashback pays tribute to former NASA astronaut Col Al Worden who has died in Texas at the age of 88.

Col Worden was the Command Module Pilot for the Apollo 15 lunar mission in 1971 and one of only 24 people to have flown to the moon. He orbited the Earth’s satellite 74 times in the Command Module Endeavour and was also the first human to carry out a deep spacewalk which was performed when he went to retrieve film cassettes from the exterior of the module.

Worden was one of six children born into a Michigan farming family. With no access to funding he gained a scholarship to the University of Michigan before graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1955. He then joined the United States Air Force where he piloted fighter jets.

Inspiring youngsters into STEM “critical to the survival of the human race”

Worden obtained Master’s degrees in space science and engineering and was selected to join NASA’s astronaut corps in 1966. He served as Senior Aerospace Scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center from 1972-1973 and chief of the Systems Study Division at Ames from 1973 to 1975.

Col Worden was a long term advocate of STEM study for the younger generation. FINN caught up with the former astronaut at the Dubai Airshow 2019 where he talked about the importance of getting young people inspired by space at the launch of his Endeavour Scholarship Programme.

He told FINN that inspiring youngsters to study the disciplines needed for spaceflight and exploration would be critical for the survival of the human race. The initial launch of the the Al Worden Endeavour Scholarship Programme was presented to an Emirati student at the Airshow.