Saturday, January 24, 2015

Al Worden: 'NASA took a giant step backwards'

Brief walk in Deep Space: Apollo 15 command module pilot Al Worden leaves the confines of Endeavour for the first time in ten days, to retrieve film and data from the SIMS bay of the service module. The 39 minute spacewalk, August 5, 1971, took place as spacecraft, crew and cargo (including 77 kg of lunar samples) were steadily accelerating toward high-speed reentry and splashdown 30 hours later [NASA/JSC].
Apollo 15 command module pilot
Al Worden, with one of the controversial
souvenir flags flown with 1971 mission.
Cornelia Borrmann
Deutsche Welle

DW: What comes to mind when you see the moon at night?

Alfred M. Worden: Well, it's been more than 43 years since I was there. And I think if you go anywhere, 43 years later those memories are pretty dim in your mind, and it's pretty hard to recapture that. But I will tell you - if the moon is right, and particularly if I have some young people with me, I use it as a training tool to get them excited about astronomy. So I do use the moon, but don't just look at the moon and philosophize about what I did.

You witnessed magic moments of manned space flight - the Apollo era. How was it?

Every single person who worked on the program had one goal in mind: Get the guys on the moon and bring them back safely. There was no bureaucracy. If we had a problem, we sat around a table, we discussed it, and we decided then what to do. We listened to everybody. And then we gave an opinion. And we got through a lot of technical issues very quickly and came to the right conclusions, because everybody came together at the work level.

Nobody was trying to improve their position or ensure that their position did not go away. We did not have any managers that were jockeying for position to go higher. Everybody tried to do what was right to go to moon.

Read the full Berlin interview, HERE.


Anonymous said...

Question: what are the random round shapes on the gray panels of the command (or service) module in the first photo? Damage from heat? Micrometeorite pits?

Joel Raupe said...

That caught my eye, too.

Without actually researching the question, and if dim memory serves, it's blemishing from the Reaction Control System, specifically from a plume from the RCS thruster bell outside this field of view.