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Apollo astronaut Al Worden, who orbited the moon, dies at 88

Apollo 15 command module pilot Alfred "Al" Worden, who orbited the moon and was the first to walk in deep space in 1971, has died at the age of 88. (NASA)

March 18, 2020 — Apollo astronaut Alfred Worden, who performed the first-ever spacewalk in deep space while on his way home from the moon in 1971, has died at the age of 88.

Worden's death was announced by his family on Wednesday morning (March 18). He recently had developed an infection that led to a collapse at his home in League City, Texas, for which he received care at the Medical Center in Houston. He was moved to a convalescent home in Sugar Land, Texas prior to his death.

"'Al' died in his sleep last night. The family thank [sic] you all for your kindness, thoughts and prayers," a statement posted to Worden's Twitter account read.

"NASA sends its condolences to the family and loved ones of Apollo astronaut Al Worden, an astronaut whose achievements in space and on Earth will not be forgotten," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said. "We remember this pioneer whose work expanded our horizons."

Chosen by NASA with its fifth class of astronauts in 1966, Worden made his first and only spaceflight as the command module pilot of Apollo 15, the fourth mission to land humans on the moon. Launched on July 26, 1971, Worden remained in lunar orbit on board the Apollo 15 command module "Endeavour" while his two crewmates, David Scott and James Irwin, spent almost three days exploring the moon's Hadley Rille.

"Only 24 humans have left Earth orbit and journeyed to the moon. I'm one of the them," wrote Worden in his 2011 autobiography, "Falling to Earth," written with author Francis French. "It's an exclusive club so small that I am still surprised they let me in."

Alone in orbit around the moon — in 2015, Guinness World Records recognized Worden as the the "most isolated that any human has been from another person," having reached a distance of 2,235 miles (3,600 kilometers) from Scott and Irwin on the lunar surface — Worden was not without a mission of his own. He spent the same three days keeping the command module running and on course, while operating science experiments and collecting imagery of the moon below.

Astronaut Al Worden trains inside a command module simulator for NASA's 1971 Apollo 15 moon landing mission. (NASA)

"I was on my own solo science mission now," wrote Worden. "The spacecraft would be in sunshine, in shadow, in and out of radio contact with Earth. I needed to use the sextant, the windows and the SIM [Scientific Instrument Module] Bay, each of which would need to be pointed in different directions for different tasks. But I couldn't just turn the spacecraft any time I felt like it: my fuel was precious, and finite."

Worden deployed booms tipped with instruments to measure the moon's very thin atmosphere and to search for radiation emitting from the lunar surface. He also used a panoramic camera to capture sweeping vistas, including uncharted areas on the moon's far side.

"The camera was a modified version of the device used by the U-2 spy plane and Air Force spy satellites," Worden described. "That camera was a phenomenal instrument — the lens and film moved together in one precise motion to image a huge swath of landscape. Using over a mile of film, I took over 1,500 photographs, capturing details only a few feet across."

"When we returned to Earth, I found I'd even captured the shadow of [the lunar module] 'Falcon' on the moon and the disturbed lunar dust around the spacecraft where Dave and Jim had walked," he wrote.

Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden inside a command module simulator prior to the 1971 moon landing mission. (NASA)

Worden felt his work in orbit was just as important as his crewmates' exploration down on the lunar surface.

"The [moon] rocks collected on the surface would be the ground truth, an important part of the puzzle," Worden wrote. "We could then compare them to the data I would collect of the whole area from orbit and work out a system where the two sets of data agreed with each other."

To return that data to Earth, Worden needed to exit the Apollo 15 spacecraft and retrieve film cassettes from the mapping and panoramic cameras mounted on the outside of the service module. After reuniting with Scott and Irwin from the moon's surface and leaving lunar orbit, Worden made history by performing the first deep space extravehicular activity (EVA) on Aug. 5, 1971. For 39 minutes and 7 seconds, he floated in the vacuum of space at a distance of more than 196,000 miles (315,500 km) from Earth.

"I realized I had a unique viewpoint: I could see the entire moon if I looked in one direction. Turning my head, I could see the entire Earth. The view is impossible to see on Earth or on the moon. I had to be far enough away from both. In all of human history, no one had been able to see what I could just by turning my head. It was incredible," Worden said.

Two days later, Apollo 15 splashed down in the North Pacific Ocean. Worden had logged 12 days, 7 hours and 11 minutes on his journey from the moon and back.

Born on Feb. 7, 1932, in Jackson, Michigan, Alfred "Al" Merrill Worden graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1955. He earned his masters in astronautical and aeronautical engineering, as well as instrumentation engineering from the University of Michigan in 1963.

That same year, Worden reported to the instrument pilots instructor school at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, prior to graduating from the Empire Test Pilots' School in Farnborough, England in February 1965. He then graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California in September 1965 and was serving there as an instructor — training some of his future fellow astronauts — when he was recruited by NASA.

Before launching on Apollo 15, Worden served on the support crew for Apollo 9 in 1968 and was backup to command module pilot Richard Gordon for Apollo 12, the second moon landing mission, in 1969.

After returning from the moon, Worden became embroiled in a congressional investigation over some of the mementos that were flown on the Apollo 15 mission to the moon. At issue were a set of 100 envelopes that were flown for and subsequently sold by a German stamp dealer, who had compensated Scott, Irwin and Worden for the service.

Although the deal for the flown envelopes (or "covers") was not illegal nor was it unprecedented within the astronaut corps, the resulting scandal effectively ended Worden's spaceflight career. In 1972, he was reassigned to Ames Research Center in California, where he served as chief of the systems study division until his retirement from NASA in 1975.

"I had been involved in something wrong and I knew it," Worden wrote in 2011. "I had ended up at this low point simply because I had nodded my head at a social evening and agreed to go along with a plan that I had no part in creating."

After departing the space program and retiring from the Air Force with the rank of colonel, Worden served as vice president of Goodrich Aerospace. In 1982, he ran an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives for Florida's 12th District but lost in the Republican primary. He later served as the chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, an organization founded by the Mercury astronauts.

In 2019, Worden partnered with Kallman Worldwide to establish the Astronaut Al Worden Endeavour Scholarship to reward "aspiring young space explorers" and their teachers with training experiences at U.S. Space Camp in Alabama.

In addition to his 2011 autobiography, Worden published a collection of his poetry, "Hello Earth: Greetings From Endeavour," and a children's book, "I Want to Know About a Flight to the Moon" in 1974. Between 1972 and 1975, he made seven guest appearances on "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" and in 2018, he served as the on-set technical consultant for the feature-length Neil Armstrong biopic, "First Man."

Worden was honored by NASA with its Distinguished Service Medal in 1971 and Ambassador of Exploration Award in 2009, the latter featuring a moon rock that he placed on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. He was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1983, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997 and the International Air & Space Hall of Fame in 2016.

Apollo 15 command module pilot Al Worden is the namesake of the Astronaut Al Worden Endeavour Scholarship. (Kallman Worldwide)

Worden was married to his first wife, Pamela Vander Beek, from 1955 to 1969, with whom he had two daughters, Merrill and Alison. He married Jill Lee Hotchkiss (d.2014) in 1982 and adopted her daughter, Tamara.


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Odp: [CS] Apollo astronaut Al Worden, who orbited the moon, dies at 88
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Marzec 19, 2020, 03:25 »
Apollo 15 Veteran Al Worden Dies at 88
By Ben Evans, on March 18th, 2020 [AS]

Al Worden waves to ground personnel at Patrick Air Force Base prior to taking off on a training flight in a T-38 aircraft in July 1971. Photo Credit: The Project Apollo Archive/NASA

Only four years before the first woman and the next man are due to set foot on the surface of the Moon, AmericaSpace and the world mourn tonight, following the passing of Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot (CMP) Al Worden at the age of 88. Worden’s 12-day voyage with crewmates Dave Scott and Jim Irwin in July and August 1971 saw him perform a comprehensive survey of the Moon with a powerful battery of scientific instrumentation, as well as the first-ever “deep-space” Extravehicular Activity (EVA), more than 180,000 miles (300,000 km) from Earth. Worden’s passing brings to just 11 the number of surviving Apollo astronauts who voyaged to our nearest celestial neighbor, all those years ago.

The Apollo 15 crew, pictured during pre-launch water survival exercises. Left to right are Al Worden, Jim Irwin and Dave Scott. Photo Credit: NASA

Alfred Merrill Worden was born in Jackson, Mich., on 7 February 1932, the progeny of a farming family. “Aviation was not really something that was foremost in my mind,” he told the NASA oral historian, years later. “From the age of 12 on, I basically ran the farm, did all the fieldwork, milked the cows; did all that until I left for college.” He attended the Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., earning a degree in military science in 1955. Worden hoped to become an army leader, but eventually gravitated to the Air Force, believing the options for promotion were more favorable. He underwent initial flight instruction at Moore and Laredo Air Force Bases in Texas, before transitioning to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida to join an all-weather interceptor squadron.

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Video Credit: NASA

A master’s degree followed in astronautical, aeronautical and instrumentation engineering from the University of Michigan in 1963, after which Worden was selected for test pilot school. In 1965, the year before he was picked by NASA as an astronaut candidate, he graduated from both the Aerospace Research Pilots School (ARPS) at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and the Empire Test Pilot School in the UK as part of an exchange program with Britain’s Royal Air Force. By mid-decade, his options were two-pronged: either apply for the Air Force’s (ultimately ill-fated) Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program or tender an application to NASA. Selected in April 1966, his technical duties were focused acutely on the Apollo Command and Service Module (CSM) systems and in March 1969 he was appointed Command Module Pilot (CMP) on the backup crew for Apollo 12, which flew in November of that same year.

When Apollo 12 launched in November 1969, Al Worden served as backup Command Module Pilot (CMP) for the mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Following a three-flight rotation pattern, it came as little surprise in March 1970 when the Apollo 12 backup crew was assigned as prime crew for Apollo 15, then scheduled to launch in spring 1971. Worden as CMP would be joined by fellow “rookie” Jim Irwin as Lunar Module Pilot (LMP), together with veteran Commander Dave Scott; the only all-Air Force crew to voyage to the Moon.

Original plans for Apollo 15 called for a “H-series” mission, with no more than 33 hours on the lunar surface and a pair of Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) lasting around 4.5 hours apiece. However, following the traumatic voyage of Apollo 13 in April 1970 and diminishing NASA budgets in the face of civil unrest at home and an increasingly unpopular war in Vietnam, decisions were made to cancel the final two Apollo missions. In order to maximize what was left of the program, Apollo 15 was changed to become the first of the “J-series” of missions, with three EVAs, around 67 hours on the Moon and the use of the battery-powered Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). Additionally, the CSM would be equipped with a complex Scientific Instrument Bay (SIMbay) of experiments which required Worden to work alone for three days in lunar orbit on a comprehensive series of observations and measurements of our closest celestial neighbor.

Pictured from the lunar module, this impressive view reveals the layout of the Scientific Instrument Module bay (SIMbay) aboard the Apollo 15 command and service module, Endeavour. The unrealised I-series of lunar flights would have employed similar instrumentation in their solo orbital voyages. Photo Credit: NASA

“Our purpose,” Worden told the NASA oral historian, “changed from getting there and getting back to going out there and collecting all this science. There was an end game here; there was an end purpose to going. It wasn’t just to go and come back. It was to go out there and really do something scientific that was worthwhile.” Dave Scott was glowing in his praise of Worden, noting that the CMP would be performing all of the duties normally demanded of a three-man Apollo crew during his time alone in lunar orbit, including maneuvers and science and would operate instrumentation that would map around a quarter of the Moon’s surface.

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Video Credit: NASA/Nostalghia

Launched atop the powerful Saturn V booster on 26 July 1971, an experience that Worden described as “a smooth, slow rise from the launch pad in an eerie kind of silence” in his memoir Falling to Earth, Apollo 15 reached lunar orbit four days later. And as Scott and Irwin descended to the Moon’s Hadley-Apennine region to explore the lunar mountains for the first time in history, Worden circled the strange gray world with his own fully-fitted scientific laboratory. “Changes in color and shading fascinated me as I circled the Moon,” he wrote. “Looking toward the Sun, the lunar surface appeared light brown. Away from the Sun, it looked gray.” For three days, he focused his instruments and his eyes on this intractable dead land. During quiet spells, he would play music cassettes and marvel at the spectacle which drifted silently beneath him.

Artist’s concept of Al Worden’s cislunar EVA to recover film cassettes from the SIMbay. Crewmate Jim Irwin monitors the proceedings from the command module’s open hatch. Image Credit: NASA

Reunited with Scott and Irwin after their exploration of the surface, Apollo 15 headed for home and Worden had the unique opportunity to perform the first “deep-space” EVA, more than 180,000 miles (300,000 km) from Earth. In one glance, he could see both the home planet and the Moon through his visor faceplate. And for 39 minutes, Worden tumbled in the most unimaginable void, retrieving film canisters from the SIMbay. In Falling to Earth, he compared the blackness to “a fleeting sense of being deep under the ocean”, but Worden’s experience was of a darkness far darker than any ocean. “The blackness defied understanding,” he wrote, “because it stretched away from me for billions of miles.”

During the final minutes of Apollo 15, one of the command module’s parachutes failed to open, affording the crew a harsh splashdown. Photo Credit: NASA

On 7 August 1971, Apollo 15 returned safely to Earth, albeit harsher than normal thanks to a failure of one of the command module’s parachutes. An ugly scandal involving first-day postal covers carried to the Moon entered the public domain in 1972 and cost Scott, Worden and Irwin their seats on the backup crew of Apollo 17. None of them ever flew again. It was an intense pity, for Apollo 15 had proven to be one of the most brilliant missions ever undertaken in the annals of space science. With Worden’s passing at age 88, only 11 men now remain alive from the 24 who voyaged to the Moon and back a half-century ago. And of that number, it is a saddening indictment of our failure to return sooner that only four living souls, Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke and Jack Schmitt, can now claim to have actually set foot on its dusty surface. It can only be hoped that in the coming years the next generation of lunar explorers will follow in their footsteps.


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Odp: [CS] Apollo astronaut Al Worden, who orbited the moon, dies at 88
« Odpowiedź #2 dnia: Marzec 21, 2020, 01:04 »
Apollo astronaut Al Worden dies at 88
March 19, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]

Astronaut Al Worden is seen during training before the Apollo 15 mission in 1971. Credit: NASA

Former astronaut Al Worden, who orbited the moon and performed the first spacewalk in deep space in 1971, died Wednesday in Texas. He was 88.

Born Feb. 7, 1932, in Jackson, Michigan, Worden graduated from United States Military Academy at West Point in 1955 and entered the U.S. Air Force. He was a fighter pilot and test pilot before his selection as a NASA astronaut in 1966.

Worden served as command module pilot on the Apollo 15 mission. His crewmates, commander David Scott and lunar module pilot Jim Irwin, landed on the moon while Worden flew the Apollo command module solo for three days.

During his time alone in lunar orbit, Worden controlled sharp-eyed cameras and other scientific instruments carried to the moon for the first time on Apollo 15. Worden’s wide area geologic surveys from orbit complemented the work of Scott and Irwin on the lunar surface.

Scott and Irwin landed the Apollo 15 lunar module, named Falcon, on a lava plain near a towering mountain range and a deep channel-like valley named Hadley Rille. The landing site was perhaps the most spectacular moonscape visited on any of the Apollo missions.

Worden remained behind in the command module, named Endeavour, to operate a suite of scientific cameras and sensors housed in an instrument bay outside the spacecraft.

Apollo 15 was the first of three “J-type” missions flown to the moon before the Apollo lunar missions ended in 1972. The final three moon missions carried more advanced scientific payloads and a motorized rover to the lunar surface, which were not part of the previous moon landings on Apollo 11, 12 and 14.

“The purpose of a flight changed from getting there and getting back, to going out there and collecting all this science,” Worden said in a NASA oral history. “There was an end game here. There was an end purpose to going. It wasn’t just to go and come back. It was to go out there and really do something scientific that was worthwhile, and I think that’s what we did.”

Worden and his crewmates trained with geologists on Earth before launching to the moon, participating in numerous field expeditions across the American Southwest to familiarize themselves with geologic surveying techniques.

While Scott and Irwin focused on identifying rocks for retrieval and return to Earth, Worden flew in airplanes to practice aerial surveys.

“I looked at macro features, and Dave and Jim looked at micro features,” Worden said. “There’s a difference in the kind of geology you look at. I’m looking at what are the processes. Dave and Jim are looking at what’s the final product of the process.”

A view of Schroter’s Valley, a sinuous valley or rille on the moon, captured by the mapping camera the Apollo 15 command module. Credit: NASA

Along with multiple spectrometers, a laser altimeter and a small subsatellite, the Apollo 15 command module carried a mapping camera and panoramic camera. The mapping camera was a modified military spy camera.

“The high-resolution camera, incidentally, was an interesting camera,” Worden said in a NASA oral history. “We could take pictures from 60 miles that…[had a] resolution maybe down to 3 meters or something like that, which was pretty good for those days.”

In addition to the scientific data, Worden, isolated in the command module, relayed voice descriptions of lunar terrain, describing colors, textures and first impressions of lunar geology.

Worden was trained by Farouk El-Baz, an Egyptian-American geologist who worked for Bellcomm, a division of AT&T contracted to provide technical assistance to NASA during the Apollo program.

“Farouk had me trained to look for evidences of volcanic activity,” Worden said in a 2017 panel discussion with El-Baz at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Back in those days, the geologists that we trained with were still arguing about whether the features on the moon were made by meteor impacts or volcanic activity.”

El-Baz, now 82, was secretary of the Apollo landing site selection committee, and observations from Apollo 15 helped scientists push to send Apollo 17, the program’s final lunar landing, to a different location on the moon named Taurus-Littrow.

“We looked for volcanic activity and took high-resolution pictures of it,” Worden said. “Farouk jumped on it and everybody looked at it, and as a result of that they actually changed the landing site of Apollo 17 to go there. So there was some real value in observational work that we actually found the volcanic activity.”

In 2017, El-Baz said Worden separated himself from many of his Apollo-era astronaut peers by his scientific acumen.

“Most of the crews had absolutely no knowledge of the Earth, or geology, or the environment, or any of that,” El-Baz said in 2017. “So Al would come and absorb it all, and communicate with me, and ask me questions out how do you know this, why do you say that.

“So he really absorbed the whole thing, and for that, he became the best observer from orbit,” El-Baz said. “He would look from the spacecraft all the way to the surface of the moon, and then he would pick up tiny little objects, differences in color, differences in texture … and he would convey them right away knowing that we were waiting for that.”

Al Worden participates in a discussion at the Paris Air Show in June 2019. Credit: ESA – P. Sebirot

Once Scott and Irwin rejoined Worden in lunar orbit, the trio headed back to Earh, but one more major mission remained before re-entry.

Worden suited up in a spacesuit and went outside the Apollo spacecraft to retrieve film canisters from the mapping and panoramic cameras. It was the first time an astronaut had performed a spacewalk in deep space, between the Earth and the moon.

“It’s sort of a unique perspective,” Worden said of the spacewalk. “I did have a chance to stand up on the outside and look.

“I could see … the moon and the Earth at the same time, and if you’re on Earth, you can’t do that,” Worden said. “If you’re on the Moon, you can’t do that. It’s a very unique place to be.”

Soon after they returned to Earth, unauthorized postal covers carried to the moon on Apollo 15 were sold on the commercial market. A backlash prompted NASA to discipline the Apollo 15 crew, and none of the astronauts ever flew in space again.

Irwin died of a heart attack in 1991. Worden said Scott, the mission’s commander who is now 87, was responsible for the scandal.

“There was nothing in my suit or in my kit or anywhere around me that had not been approved by Deke Slayton (director of NASA’s flight crew operations),” he said. “There were some covers carried on the flight. There were 100 covers carried by Dave that we had agree … to take. I had assumed they were on the manifest, but I’m not sure they ever were.”

The covers were given to a German stamp collector, and money from their sale was intended to go toward a fund for the children of the Apollo 15 astronauts.

“But there were going to be nothing done until the program was long, long, long gone,” Worden said.

“Well, unbeknownst to Jim and I … Dave had another 300 in his pocket, and that created quite a flap,” Worden said. “It was unfortunate for a lot of respects.”

“I think it’s kind of recognized by a lot of people that even with all the problems with postal covers and all that, Apollo 15 still comes through as the most … successful scientific flight of the entire Apollo program,” Worden said.

“We had a good flight. We did what we were supposed to do,” he said. “We brought back so much data, they’ll never get through it all. I just think we did a better job of the science than any other crew. As far as getting there and getting back, what can I say? We had so few problems that it was like flying to L.A.”

After leaving the astronaut corps, Worden served as a senior aerospace scientist and chief of the systems study division at NASA’s Ames Research Center until 1975. He then moved on to a career as an executive in the aerospace and aviation industry.

He never thought of his flight to the moon as the high point of his life.

“Yes, the flight was a high, but it was a high in a kind of different way, and I would not say that it was the high point of my life,” he said. “I think there are other things in my life that I consider more significant from an intellectual standpoint.

“Even losing something sometimes is more significant,” Worden said. “I ran for the U.S. Congress in 1982 down in Florida, and I lost, but that was a very significant thing for me. I thought that was one of my better attempts at something.”


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Odp: [CS] Apollo astronaut Al Worden, who orbited the moon, dies at 88
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Marzec 27, 2020, 05:25 »
Zmarł astronauta programu Apollo
Posted on 19 marca, 2020  Waldemar Zwierzchlejski  [Portal Kosmiczny]

(fot.: NASA)

18 marca poinformowano, że ostatniej nocy, podczas snu, zmarł w wieku 88 lat były astronauta NASA Alfred Merrill Worden. Był jedną z 24 osób, które miały okazję oglądać Księżyc z bliska, choć nie chodził po jego powierzchni.

Urodzony w 1932 roku Worden ukończył w 1955 roku Akademię Wojskową w West Point, a w 1963 Uniwersytet Michigan, gdzie uzyskał magisterium z dziedziny lotnictwa i astronautyki. Od roku 1955 w szeregach USAF, gdzie latał na rozlicznych typach samolotów, w 1963 roku zdobył uprawnienia instruktora.

Alfred Merrill Worden, portret z roku 1971 w skafandrze A7L.

Jego nalot wyniósł 4000 godzin, w tym 2500 na samolotach odrzutowych. W kwietniu 1966 r. został członkiem piątej grupy astronautów NASA. W roku 1969 przygotowywał się do roli pilota modułu dowodzenia statku Apollo-12 w załodze rezerwowej. Zgodnie z ówczesną niepisaną regułą, trzy loty później, w misji Apollo-15 pełnił tę samą funkcję, ale już w załodze podstawowej. Jej dowódcą był David Scott, a pilotem modułu księżycowego Charles Duke. Misja rozpoczęła się 26 lipca 1971 roku. Trzy dni później statki weszły na orbitę wokół Księżyca. Współtowarzysze Wordena spędzili na powierzchni Księżyca trzy dni, po czym powrócili do modułu dowodzenia. W tym czasie Worden realizował rozległy program obserwacji powierzchni Srebrnego Globu, ale także tak subtelnych zjawisk, jak przeciwblask oraz postulowane wówczas przez polskiego astronoma Kazimierza Kordylewskiego obłoki pyłowe. 4 sierpnia statek opuścił rejon Księżyca i udał się w podróż powrotną. Następnego dnia Worden, jako pierwszy w historii człowiek wykonał wyjście na zewnątrz statku, znajdującego się w dalekiej przestrzeni kosmicznej – 317 tysięcy kilometrów od Ziemi. Jego wyjście na zewnątrz statku miało na celu odzyskanie kasety z filmami z umieszczonego w module serwisowym statku zestawu instrumentów naukowych. Poza statkiem spędził 39 minut. Jedyny lot Wordena zakończył się 7 sierpnia i trwał 12 dni, 7 godzin, 11 minut i 52 sekundy.

Worden na zewnątrz statku podczas lotu z Księżyca na Ziemię.

Po powrocie pracował w Wydziale Badań Systemowych w ośrodku badawczym NASA im. Amesa. We wrześniu 1975 r. odszedł jednocześnie z agencji, jak i – w stopniu pułkownika – z Sił Powietrznych. Przez kolejne dwie dekady zajmował się prywatnym biznesem, był konsultantem i dyrektorem technicznym w kilku znaczących firmach. Worden dwukrotnie odwiedził Polskę, po raz pierwszy z całą załogą Apollo-15 w styczniu 1972 roku, po raz drugi we wrześniu ubiegłego roku.