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Thirty-two astronauts were assigned to fly in the Apollo manned lunar landing program. Twenty-four of these left Earth’s orbit and flew around the Moon (Apollo 1 never launched and Apollo 7 and Apollo 9 were low Earth orbit spacecraft testing missions). In addition, nine astronauts flew Apollo spacecraft in the Apollo Applications Programs Skylab and Apollo–Soyuz Test Project.
Twelve of these astronauts walked on the Moon’s surface, and six of those drove Lunar Roving Vehicles on the Moon. While three astronauts flew to the Moon twice, none of them landed on the Moon more than once. The nine Apollo missions to the Moon occurred between December 1968 and December 1972.
Apart from these 24 people who visited the Moon, no human being has gone beyond low Earth orbit. They have, therefore, been farther from the Earth than anyone else. They are also the only people to have directly viewed the far side of the Moon. The twelve who walked on the Moon are the only people ever to have set foot on an astronomical object other than the Earth.
Of the 24 astronauts who flew to the Moon, two went on to command a Skylab mission, one commanded Apollo–Soyuz, one flew as commander for approach and landing tests of the Space Shuttle, and two went on to command orbital Space Shuttle missions. A total of 24 NASA astronauts from the Apollo era flew on the Space Shuttle.
NASA's Director of Flight Crew Operations during the Gemini and Apollo programs was Donald K. "Deke" Slayton, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, who was medically grounded in September 1962 due to a minor cardiac arrythmia - paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Slayton was responsible for making all Gemini and Apollo crew assignments. In March 1972, Slayton was restored to flight status, and flew on the 1975 Apollo–Soyuz Test Project mission.
The prime crew members selected for actual missions are here grouped by their NASA astronaut selection groups, and within each group in the order selected for flight.
All of these astronauts had flown on Gemini, and except for White, each commanded one Gemini and one Apollo mission:
This was the first class of astronauts for which test pilot experience was not required, but military jet fighter pilot experience was acceptable.
Five of this group got their first spaceflight experience as second seat on Gemini:
The remaining six members of this group were selected for their first space flights on Apollo:
In June 1965, NASA named a group of five scientist astronauts, the first group qualified by doctorate degrees rather than test or military fighter pilot experience. Geologist Dr. Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt participated heavily in the geological training of the lunar landing astronauts, as well as assisting in the analysis of returned samples and the preparation of mission reports. In 1970, he was selected as Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 15 backup crew, and prime crew on Apollo 18. When program cutbacks cancelled missions 18 through 20, NASA's lunar geological community insisted on having a geologist on the Moon, so Slayton reassigned Schmitt to Apollo 17.
NASA named a group of 19 more astronauts in April 1966. None had spaceflight experience before their Apollo mission.
Twelve men have walked on the Moon – eight of whom are still alive. All of the landings took place between July 1969 and December 1972 as part of the Apollo program.
|Mission||Lunar EVA dates||Service||Alma Mater|
|01.||Neil Armstrong||August 5, 1930||August 25, 2012(aged 82)||38y 11m 15d||Apollo 11||July 21, 1969||NASA||Purdue University, University of Southern California|
|02.||Buzz Aldrin||January 20, 1930||39y 6m 0d||Air Force||United States Military Academy, MIT|
|03.||Pete Conrad||June 2, 1930||July 8, 1999(aged 69)||39y 5m 17d||Apollo 12||November 19–20, 1969||Navy||Princeton University|
|04.||Alan Bean||March 15, 1932||37y 8m 4d||Navy||University of Texas, Austin|
|05.||Alan Shepard||November 18, 1923||July 21, 1998(aged 74)||47y 2m 18d||Apollo 14||February 5–6, 1971||Navy||United States Naval Academy, Naval War College|
|06.||Edgar Mitchell||September 17, 1930||40y 4m 19d||Navy||Carnegie Mellon University, Naval Postgraduate School, MIT|
|07.||David Scott||June 6, 1932||39y 1m 25d||Apollo 15||July 31 – August 2, 1971||Air Force||University of Michigan (freshman year, and later, an honorary doctorate), United States Military Academy, MIT|
|08.||James Irwin||March 17, 1930||August 8, 1991(aged 61)||41y 4m 14d||Air Force||United States Naval Academy, University of Michigan|
|09.||John W. Young||September 24, 1930||41y 6m 28d||Apollo 16||April 21–23, 1972||Navy||Georgia Institute of Technology|
|10.||Charles Duke||October 3, 1935||36y 6m 18d||Air Force||United States Naval Academy, MIT|
|11.||Eugene Cernan||March 14, 1934||38y 9m 7d||Apollo 17||December 11–14, 1972||Navy||Purdue University, Naval Postgraduate School|
|12.||Harrison Schmitt||July 3, 1935||37y 5m 8d||NASA||Caltech, University of Oslo (exchange), Harvard University|
Regarding "the last man to walk on the Moon", Schmitt is the last person to step onto the Moon (as Cernan got out of the Apollo Lunar Module first), but Cernan is the last person to step off the Moon (after final EVA (extra-vehicular activity), 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 W. 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. Haise was scheduled to walk on the Moon as commander of Apollo 19 prior to that mission’s cancellation on September 2, 1970.
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. 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.
Twelve more people have been within a few hundred kilometers of the Moon. On each of the missions listed above one astronaut orbited the Moon while the other two landed. In addition, 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.
John Young and Eugene Cernan both flew to the Moon twice, each setting foot on it as part of their second journey, while Jim Lovell is the only human to have flown to the Moon twice without landing on it.
As a result of their free return trajectory, Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise jointly hold the record for humans' farthest distance from the Earth, having reached an altitude of 400,171 km (248,655 mi) above sea level on 0:21 UTC on 15 April 1970; at that moment, they likewise flew higher above the surface of the Moon's far side (at 254 km (158 mi)) than any other humans have flown.
|Name||Born||Died||Age on mission||Mission||Mission dates||Service||Notes|
|1.||Frank Borman||March 14, 1928||40||Apollo 8||December 21–27, 1968||Air Force|
|2.||Jim Lovell||March 25, 1928||40||Navy||also flew on Apollo 13|
|3.||Bill Anders||October 17, 1933||35||Air Force|
|4.||Tom Stafford||September 17, 1930||38||Apollo 10||May 18–26, 1969||Air Force||later flew on Apollo–Soyuz Test Project|
|John Young||September 24, 1930||38||Navy||landed on Apollo 16; later flew two space shuttle missions|
|Eugene Cernan||March 14, 1934||35||Navy||landed on Apollo 17|
|5.||Michael Collins||October 31, 1930||38||Apollo 11||July 16–24, 1969||Air Force|
|6.||Dick Gordon||October 5, 1929||40||Apollo 12||November 14–24, 1969||Navy||trained to land, slated for Apollo 18 (cancelled)|
|Jim Lovell||March 25, 1928||42||Apollo 13||April 11–17, 1970||Navy||already flown on Apollo 8; intended to land|
|7.||Jack Swigert||August 30, 1931||December 27, 1982(aged 51)||38||NASA|
|8.||Fred Haise||November 14, 1933||36||NASA||intended to land; later trained to land and slated for Apollo 19 (cancelled); flew shuttle on approach / landing tests|
|9.||Stu Roosa||August 16, 1933||December 12, 1994(aged 61)||37||Apollo 14||January 31 – February 9, 1971||Air Force||in rotation to land on Apollo 20 (cancelled)|
|10.||Al Worden||February 7, 1932||39||Apollo 15||July 26 – August 7, 1971||Air Force|
|11.||Ken Mattingly||March 17, 1936||36||Apollo 16||April 16–27, 1972||Navy||later flew two space shuttle missions.|
|12.||Ron Evans||November 10, 1933||April 7, 1990(aged 56)||39||Apollo 17||December 7–19, 1972||Navy|