Apollo 15 – First Astronauts To Rove On The Moon!
Lunar Rover Debuts
The Apollo 15 mission was the fourth to land on the Moon and the ninth manned mission of the Apollo program. It was the first of the so-called ‘long duration’ Moon missions, with a particular focus on science, both on the lunar surface and from orbit. Apollo 15 would also be the first mission to make use of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) to expand the area astronauts could explore during their moonwalks!
Fast Summary Facts About Apollo 15!
- Mission Crew: David Scott, James Irwin, Alfred Worden
- Mission Objective: Moon landing, Science, Testing the LRV
- Launch Date: 26th July, 1971
- Return Date: 7th August, 1971
- Mission Duration: 12 days, 7 hours, 12 min
- Distance Travelled: 2,050,524.7 kms (1,274,137 miles)
More Interesting Facts About The Apollo 15 Mission!
- Apollo 15 had a greater focus on science than previous missions, reflected by its four primary mission objectives;
- Explore and conduct geological investigations of the Hadley-Apennine region around the landing zone
- Set up and activate a series of surface experiments
- Evaluate improvements made to the Lunar Module (LM) to facilitate longer flights and test the new Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV)!
- The Command Module (CM) pilot left in orbit would conduct experiments and image the lunar surface
- The LM called ‘Falcon’ made a steep approach and successfully landed near the Apennine Range and Hadley Rille Valley.
- Astronauts David Scott and James Irwin became the 7th and 8th men to walk on the Moon, on July 31st.
- The Apollo 15 moonwalkers also collected one of the more famous lunar samples known as the "Genesis Rock" which is over 4 billion years old!
- Scott and Irwin completed a record 18 hours, 37 minutes of exploration during three separate ‘moonwalks’ known otherwise known as ‘extravehicular activities’ (EVAs).
- The pair would also travel 28.2 km (17.5 miles) in the first vehicle (LRV) to be driven on the Moon!
- Before leaving the Moon, David Scott performed a now-famous experiment for the TV audience to demonstrate Galileo's theory that all objects fall at the same rate regardless of mass (in a vacuum). Scott dropped a hammer and feather with both hitting the ground at the same time! You can view it here!
- The two astronauts would spend nearly three full days (66 hours, 55 minutes) exploring, investigating, working and sleeping on the Moon.
- As the LM Falcon lifted off the lunar surface, a TV camera caught the scene for the first time.
- During their final orbit of the Moon the astronauts deployed a small satellite to study the Moon’s gravity field - this was a first for the Apollo program!
- A day after departing the Moon, CM pilot Alfred Worden became the first human to carry out a deep space EVA to retrieve film cassettes in the Service Module which would later burn-up in Earth’s atmosphere.
- Apollo 15 set several new records for crewed spaceflight for time spent on the Moon, in orbit and longest mission overall until Apollo 17!