Four Moon Walkers Remain From the Apollo Program

Astronaut John Young salutes the flag on the moon during the Apollo 16 mission. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The passing of Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean on Saturday leaves the United States with four of the 12 men to walk on the moon remaining as NASA’s Apollo program prepares to mark a series of 50th anniversary celebrations.

Bean, who passed away at 86, walked on the moon’s Ocean of Storms with Pete Conrad in November 1969. They were the third and fourth men to walk on the lunar surface after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11.

The four remaining moon walkers include: Aldrin, 88; David Scott, 85 (Apollo 15); Charles Duke, 82 (Apollo 16); and Harrison Schmitt, 82 (Apollo 17). Surviving command module pilots from the lunar landing missions include: Michael Collins, 87 (Apollo 11); Al Worden, 86 (Apollo 15); and Ken Mattingly, 82 (Apollo 16).

Apollo 1

Test command service module in Earth orbit; crew died in a flash fire that swept through the command module during a practice countdownVirgil “Gus” GrissomApril 3, 1926January 27, 1967d. 40
Edward WhiteOctober 14, 1930January 27, 1967d. 36
Roger ChaffeeFebruary 15, 1935January 27, 1967d. 31
Apollo 7
Oct. 11-22 1968
Test command service module in Earth orbitWally SchirraMarch 12, 1923May 3, 2007d. 84
Donn EiseleJune 23, 1930December 2, 1987d. 57
Walt CunninghamMarch 16, 193286
Apollo 8
Dec. 21-27 1968
First human voyage to the moon; 10 orbits above the lunar surfaceFrank BormanMarch 14, 192890
Jim LovellMarch 25, 192890
Bill AndersOctober 17, 193384
Apollo 9
March 3-13 1969
Test command service module and lunar module in Earth orbitJames A. McDivittJune 10, 192988
David R. ScottJune 6, 193285
Russell L. SchweickartOctober 25, 193582
Apollo 10
May 18-26 1969
Dress rehearsal for first human landing on the moon; lunar module flew within 50,000 feet of lunar surfaceTom StaffordSeptember 17, 193087
John YoungSeptember 24, 1930Jan. 5, 2018d. 87
Eugene CernanMarch 14, 1934Jan. 16, 2017d. 82
Apollo 11
July 16-24 1969
First manned moon landing on Sea of Tranquility; Armstrong and Aldrin spent more than two hours walking on the surfaceNeil ArmstrongAugust 5, 1930August 25, 2012d. 82
Buzz AldrinJanuary 20, 193088
Michael CollinsOctober 31, 193087
Apollo 12
Nov. 14-24 1969
Second manned landing on the moon; recovered part of Surveyor 3 landerCharles “Pete” ConradJune 2, 1930July 8, 1999d. 69
Alan BeanMarch 15, 1932May 26, 2018d. 86
Dick GordonOctober 5, 1929Nov. 6, 2017d. 88
Apollo 13
April 11-17 1970
Landing in Fra Mauro aborted due to explosion in service module oxygen tankJim LovellMarch 25, 192890
Fred HaiseNovember 14, 193384
Jack SwigertAugust 30, 1931December 27, 1982d. 51
Apollo 14
Jan. 31 – Feb. 9, 1971
Exploration of the Fra Mauro formationAlan ShepardNovember 18, 1923July 21, 1998d. 74
Edgar MitchellSeptember 17, 1930February 4, 2016d. 85
Stu RoosaAugust 16, 1933December 12, 1994d. 61
Apollo 15
July 28 – Aug. 7, 1971
Exploration of Hadley Rille; first use of the lunar rover; Worden made first deep space walk to retrieve film from the service moduleDavid ScottJune 6, 193285
James IrwinMarch 17, 1930August 8, 1991d. 61
Al WordenFebruary 7, 193286
Apollo 16
April 16-27 1972
Exploration of Descartes Highlands; Young and Duke spent more than 20 hours walking and driving on the surfaceJohn W. YoungSeptember 24, 1930Jan. 5, 2018d. 87
Charles DukeOctober 3, 193582
Ken MattinglyMarch 17, 193682
Apollo 17
Dec. 7-19 1972
Final manned moon mission; Cernan and Schmitt spent 22 hours outside the lunar module exploring Taurus-Littrow highlandsEugene CernanMarch 14, 1934Jan. 16, 2017d. 82
Harrison SchmittJuly 3, 193582
Ronald EvansNovember 10, 1933April 7, 1990d. 56

Jim Lovell, who turned 90 in March, and Fred Haise, 84, remain from the ill-fated Apollo 13 crew that flew around the moon after an explosion of an oxygen tank in the command module. Jack Swigert passed away in 1982.

Lovell’s crew mates from Apollo 8 — Frank Borman, 90, and William Anders, 84 — are still alive. (Borman is 11 days older than Lovell.) In December, NASA will mark the 50th anniversary of that historic flight, which was the first human voyage to the moon.

The crew of Apollo 9 — Scott, 85; James McDivitt, 88; and Russell “Rusty” Schweickart, 82 — survive today. Other veterans from the lunar landing precursor missions include 86-year old Walter Cunningham of Apollo 7 and Apollo 10 commander Tom Stafford, 87.

Alan Bean (Credit: NASA)

The death of Bean marks the loss of the second full Apollo lunar crew. Conrad died after a motorcycle accident in 1999. Command module pilot Dick Gordon passed away in November 2017.

The crew of Apollo 14 — Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa — have also passed. Shepard and Mitchell walked on the lunar surface in February 1971.

Bean also commanded the Skylab 3 mission, which used hardware left over from the Apollo program. Five of the nine crew members who flew aboard America’s first space station survive, including Bean’s crew mates Owen Garriott, 87, and Jack Lousma, 82.

Skylab 2
May 25 – June 22 1973
First U.S. space station crew; set new space duration record of 28 days; during launch, Skylab damaged with one solar panel torn off, another trapped against the ship by debris; crew freed the solar panel and spread a parasol over area where micrometeorite/ heat shield had been torn off; astronauts completed many of planned experimentsPete ConradJune 2, 1930July 8, 1999d. 69
Joseph KerwinFebruary 19, 193286
Paul WeitzJuly 25, 1932October 22, 2017d. 85
Skylab 3
July 28 – Sept. 25 1973
Second U.S. space station crew set new space duration record of 59 days; conducted experiments on human body’s adaptation in space, observed sun using powerful space telescopes; placed second shield over parasol to protect stationAlan BeanMarch 15, 1932May 26, 2018d. 86
Owen GarriottNovember 22, 193087
Jack LousmaFebruary 29, 193682
Skylab 4
Nov. 16, 1973 – Feb. 8, 1974

Third and final crew set new duration record of 84 days; continued experiments begun by first two crewsGerald CarrAugust 22, 193285
Edward GibsonNovember 8, 193681
William PogueJanuary 23, 1930March 3, 2014d. 84
Soyuz Test Project
July 15-24 1975

First joint docking of American and Soviet spacecraft flown by Alexey Leonov and Valeri Kubasov in orbit; first and only spaceflight for Deke Slayton, one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts who had been grounded due to a heart irregularityTom StaffordSeptember 17, 193087
Vance BrandMay 9, 193187
Deke SlaytonMarch 1, 1924June 13, 1993d. 69

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, during which American and Soviet spacecraft docked in Earth orbit, involved the final use of the program’s hardware. Stafford and Vance Brand, who are both 87, survive today. Donald K. “Deke” Slayton, who was one of the original seven NASA astronauts, passed away in 1993 at the age of 69.

Alexey Leonov, 83, commanded the Soyuz 19 spacecraft. Crew mate Valeri Kubasov passed away at the age of 79 in February 2014.

  • Ignacio Rockwill

    Damn, what’s their secret? I hope to be tooling around in suspenders raising hell like Buzz when I’m 88.

  • Robert G. Oler

    The moon landings came about 75 to 100 years to early

  • Gerald Cecil

    Typo in last table … Dr. Garriot is 87

  • delphinus100

    Let’s get back there, while we still have them…

  • Aerospike

    Well maybe not 100 (only time will tell) but certainly at least 50 years early.

  • Douglas Messier

    Fixed. Thank you.

  • Robert G. Oler

    we will see when we go back. not anytime soon in my view

  • duheagle

    I graduated high school just before the Apollo 11 landing. A human lunar return isn’t going to happen before my 50th reunion, but I think it’s all but certain to happen before my 60th.

  • Aerospike

    Well I’m optimistic that it will not take 25 more years before it happens, but I’m certain it will not take another 50. In my opinion the latter scenario would imply some catastrophic condition on earth that prevents us from slowly commercializing space activities beyond LEO and GEO (environmental disasters, wars, etc.).

  • Aerospike

    I would call just 10 more years optimistic, but I certainly hope it is true!