Loughborough College Space Engineering students glimpsed the dark side of the moon when they were given a rare opportunity to meet former NASA astronaut Al Worden.
The group, all studying on the unique course delivered by the College in association with the National Space Academy, heard how the Apollo 15 mission Command Module Pilot mapped the area of the lunar surface not seen from Earth for the first time.
Al orbited the Moon using a Scientific Instrument Module and studied the surface in detail with cameras, gamma-ray and mass spectrometers, a laser altimeter and a sub-satellite during the 1971 mission. Commander David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin meanwhile spent the time on the Moon’s surface, including outside the space craft on extra-vehicular activity (EVA).
One of only 14 Apollo astronauts still alive, Al talked about his career and how he became qualified and the Loughborough College students asked him about his isolation during the mission, the engineering challenges of the deep space EVA and how traveling to the moon affected his view of life.
Dr. Zoe Washington, Space Engineering Course Leader at Loughborough College, said: “Al is a real Apollo NASA legend; he was inspirational to our students and his message of going that extra-step, every single day resonated with and motivated both students and staff. Being a qualified engineer, Al was able to explain in some detail the challenges faced by deep space missions.”
Andy McMurray, Head of Teaching at the National Space Academy, added: “Hearing from an Engineer of Al’s experience and listening to the engineering problems that had to be solved in getting to the Moon was a great experience for our students and showed them what is possible.”
Pictured: Apollo astronaut Al Worden (centre) with Loughborough College Space Engineering students and teachers from the College and the National Space Academy
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