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Col. Alfred M. Worden, USAF, Retired

Alfred M. Worden


Col. Alfred M. Worden was born in Jackson, Michigan on February 7, 1932. As one of few chosen to travel to the moon, his accomplishments as a pilot, astronaut, and engineer are milestones on man's quest for the stars.

Graduating from West Point in 1955, he became an Air Force officer, obtaining his pilot wings and qualified as a jet fighter pilot. Entering the University of Michigan in 1961, he graduated in 1963 with two masters degrees: aeronautical/astronautical engineering and instrumentation engineering. Returning to flight duty, he completed the Empire Test Pilots School, Farnborough, England in February and U.S. Aerospace Research Pilots School in September of 1965. In April 1966 he was selected by NASA as one of 19 astronauts.

Worden was a member of the astronaut support crew for Apollo 9 and backup command module pilot for the Apollo 12. He then flew as command module pilot on Apollo 15, the fourth manned lunar landing mission. During return to earth he made the first EVA (space walk) while not in Earth's orbit to recover film from the Scientific Instrument Module. He later served as backup command module pilot for Apollo 17, the final Apollo mission.

Assigned to NASA Ames Research Center in 1972, Worden was senior aerospace scientist until 1973 then chief of the Systems Studies Division. Completing his Air Force and NASA careers in 1975, he became a consultant to Northwood Institute and the State of Florida. In 1982, he established his own business company, to develop and test a stall warning device to improve flight safety. In 1990, he returned to Michigan as general manager of JET Electronics and Technology Inc. of Grand Rapids.

He has received numerous honors throughout his career including the United Nations Peace Medal, the AIAA Haley Astronautics Award, the 1972 Collier Trophy, Belgium's Order of Leopold, and many others.

Worden was enshrined on September 15, 1990 for his dedication to the advancement of flight as a pilot, astronaut, and engineer.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program