“The command module pilot (CMP), the second in command of an Apollo spacecraft, was the least understood and least appreciated crew member by the media and the general public. In Falling to Earth, Al Worden, CMP of Apollo 15, clearly and candidly recounts the wonder, the challenge, the triumph, and the pitfalls of flying to the moon.”
—Neil Armstrong, Gemini 8 and Apollo 11 astronaut
“Ever wonder what it would be like to spend several days orbiting the moon—alone? Al Worden’s expressive description of his Apollo 15 mission takes you there, and then on the 250,000-mile return, falling to Earth. This is not just another space mission book. In his intense, tell-it-as-he-sees-it style, Worden details what led to that wondrous experience and all that followed.”
--John Glenn, first American to orbit the Earth
"A rip-roaring adventure—a wry and fascinating chronicle of a time when we actually knew how to fly people to the moon."
—Tom Jones, space shuttle astronaut, author of Sky Walking
"The space program first rewarded, and then punished, Al Worden—and he is better for it, as this exceptional book reveals. It’s the full story, told with clarity, insight, and humor, altogether a wonderful read.”
—Michael Collins, Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 astronaut, author of Carrying the Fire
“Al Worden does a fine job telling his interesting life story, his important role as the command module pilot for the highly successful Apollo 15 flight—and his abrupt firing as a NASA astronaut. The ins and outs of this latter story and his personal fall to Earth make for especially fascinating reading.”
—William Anders, Major General USAF (ret), Apollo 8 astronaut
"Very few of us flew to the moon, and the stories we brought back with us are special, treasured, and unique. Al is both a pilot and a poet, and his honest portrayal of our exhilarating adventures will move and excite a whole new generation."
--Buzz Aldrin, Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 astronaut, author of Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon
“The talented men who made the pioneering flights to the moon were test pilots and scientists, team players and egomaniacs, goodie two-shoes and skirt-chasers, all driven by a shared goal—to go higher, faster, further than anyone in history. Al Worden was one of the best of this elite group: the first rookie astronaut to be entrusted with the tricky job of flying an Apollo command module, and ultimately a member of Apollo 15, the most scientifically productive lunar mission. His story, written with noted space historian Francis French, is a worthy companion to Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff.
--Michael Cassutt, co-author of Deke! and We Have Capture
As command module pilot for the Apollo 15 mission to
the moon in 1971, Al Worden flew on what is widely
regarded as the greatest exploration mission that
humans have ever attempted. He spent six days
orbiting the moon, including three days completely
alone, the most isolated human in existence. During
the return from the moon to earth he also conducted
the first spacewalk in deep space, becoming the
first human ever to see both the entire earth and
moon simply by turning his head. The Apollo 15
flight capped an already-impressive career as an
astronaut, including important work on the
pioneering Apollo 9 and Apollo 12 missions, as well
as the perilous flight of Apollo 13.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
AL WORDEN served as a support crew member for Apollo 9, backup command module pilot for Apollo 12, and command module pilot for Apollo 15's mission July 26 - August 7, 1971. After retirement from active duty in 1975, Worden spent years in private industry before becoming the Chair of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. FRANCIS FRENCH is director of education for the San Diego Air & Space Museum and co-author of the award-winning books Into that Silent Sea and In the Shadow of the Moon.