16.2.16 Apollo 15 (AS-510)

Figure 16.2.16-1. Jim Irwin next to the Lunar Rover. Detail of photo AS15-86-11598.

Crew: David Scott (CDR), James Irwin (LMP), Alfred Worden (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-10). Weight on Earth: 16,437 kg (36,238 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (74 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: Endeavour, Falcon.

Launch and return dates: July 26-August 7, 1971.

Lunar landing date and time: July 30, 1971 22:16:29 UTC.

Lunar landing site: near Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains).

Number of moonwalks: 3 (6 h 32 m; 7 h 12 m; 4 h 49 m) plus a stand-up EVA: Scott, wearing his spacesuit, stood up through the LM’s top docking hatch and scanned the surrounding area visually and photographically for 33 minutes.

Mission duration: 12 days 7 hours 11 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: 2 days 18 hours 54 minutes.

Number of photographs taken: 2,640, of which 1,151 on the Moon. Color TV transmissions were made (including the liftoff of the LM from the Moon) and color movie footage was also shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: 77.3 kg (170.4 lb).

Rover: Yes, driven for a total of 27.9 km (17.3 miles).

Notes: This flight included the first use of the Rover lunar car, which allowed a far greater exploration range of up to 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) and made Scott the first car driver on another celestial object. Scott and Irwin were the first moonwalkers to perform three excursions and sleep on the Moon without wearing their spacesuits, which were improved and less rigid. They collected the Genesis Rock, one of the oldest Moon rocks returned to Earth, over 4 billion years old.

Worden launched a science subsatellite from the Service Module in lunar orbit. During the return trip, he performed the first deep-space spacewalk to recover the film canisters of the automatic mapping cameras.

During the third moonwalk, Scott dropped simultaneously a feather and a hammer to confirm Galileo’s theory that different bodies fell at the same rate in a vacuum. He also secretly placed on the Moon a small sculpture, the Fallen Astronaut, to honor the Russian and American space travelers whose deaths were publicly known at the time.