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Apollo Crews - 15 to "18" Trivia Quiz
Between 1969 and 1975, a total of 12 Apollo missions were flown, either in Earth orbit or to the Moon. Can you match the astronauts with the mission they flew? This quiz encompasses the final four missions.
A classification quiz
Estimated time: 3 mins.
* Drag / drop or click on the choices above to move them to the correct categories.
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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Dave Scott
Answer: Apollo 15
Following the flight of Apollo 9, in which he had served as the Command Module Pilot, Dave Scott became the first member of his astronaut group to be given his own Apollo crew, when he was named as the backup commander of Apollo 12, putting him in line to command his own landing mission. In March 1970, he was given command of Apollo 15. Initially, this was intended to be the last of the H-series of mission types but, following the cancellation of the final three planned flights in September 1970, it became the first of the J-series, which, among other features, was to include the Lunar Roving Vehicle. Scott also became the first commander to display a genuine interest in geology, making it a major part of the training for the flight, as he and Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin were expected to be proxies for the professional geologists listening in on Earth.
Following the landing, Scott performed a stand-up EVA, putting his head out of the LM docking port to take photographs and describe the terrain they would be traversing, the only time such an EVA was undertaken. Spending three days on the surface, Scott and Irwin undertook three EVAs, with Scott driving the Lunar Rover, during which they discovered, what was later dubbed the "Genesis Rock", one of the oldest samples brought back from the Moon. At the end of the final EVA, Scott also performed an experiment where he dropped one of the geology hammers and a falcon feather, proving Galileo's theory that, in the absence of aerodynamic drag, objects would fall at the same rate, no matter their difference in mass. After the end of Apollo 15, Scott was reassigned to serve as a special assistant on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, before moving to the post of Deputy Director of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in 1973.
2. Al Worden
Answer: Apollo 15
Al Worden was selected as part of NASA's fifth astronaut group, and was almost immediately given an assignment to serve on the support crew of the second planned Apollo flight. In the revised flight schedule that came out in late 1967, this flight was to be the first test of the Lunar Module, and was designated as Apollo 8. However, this flight was subsequently swapped with the following one, and was launched in March 1969 as Apollo 9, with Worden remaining as part of the support crew for it, owing to his familiarity with the Command Module. His work on this flight led to his first crew selection, as the backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo 12, under the command of Dave Scott, and ultimately saw Worden selected as the CMP on the prime crew of Apollo 15. When announced that this would be the first J-series mission, it saw Worden's role in the flight significantly increase beyond what was originally expected.
Apollo 15 was the first long-duration lunar mission, with the flight spending almost four days in lunar orbit. For three of them, Worden remained alone, undertaking so many of his own mission objectives that it required a separate Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) just for the Command Module. This was the result of there not just being photography tasks to undertake, but also operating the new sensor apparatus installed for this mission. This apparatus collected data that was then stored on tapes in the sensor bay on the Service Module. During the return from the Moon, Worden was required to undertake his own EVA (the first undertaken by a CMP since Scott on Apollo 9) in transearth space to retrieve the tapes. Following the completion of Apollo 15, Worden accepted a position at NASA's Ames Research Center, initially as Senior Aerospace Scientist, before becoming chief of the Systems Study Division in 1973.
3. Jim Irwin
Answer: Apollo 15
As one of the astronauts selected in the fifth group in 1966, Jim Irwin was not expected to receive a significant crew assignment quickly. However, in 1967, he was selected as the commander of environmental tests involving the first man-rated Lunar Module, LTA-8, which were undertaken to support both Apollo 9 and Apollo 11. He was additionally appointed as a member of the support crew of Apollo 10. His work in these areas was enough to bring him to the attention of those responsible for crew selections, and he was named as the Lunar Module Pilot to the crew commanded by Dave Scott, which was named as the backup crew for Apollo 12. This meant, according to the flight rotation, that they would be named as the prime crew of Apollo 15, which was confirmed in early 1970.
As the first of the J-series landing missions, Apollo 15 spent significantly longer on the surface than previous missions, with Irwin alongside Scott for three EVAs using the Lunar Roving Vehicle, plus a stand-up EVA that saw Scott use the top of the LM as a survey site. However, during the final EVA, and then the launch from the surface to rendezvous with the Command Module, which amounted to a 23-hour day without sleep, surgeons noticed irregularities in Irwin's heart. Although there was no sign of problem after rendezvous, or on the return to Earth, it was enough to prompt doctors to keep a close eye on his condition. Following the completion of Apollo 15, Irwin elected to leave NASA the following year and, with his wife, founded the High Flight Foundation, a Christian group located in Colorado Springs.
4. John Young
Answer: Apollo 16
After the completion of Apollo 10, in which he had gone to the Moon as Command Module Pilot, John Young was named as commander of his own crew, which was assigned as backups for Apollo 13, subsequently being named as the prime crew of Apollo 16 in March 1971. As a number of later missions had been cancelled, Apollo 16 became the designated flight to explore the lunar highlands. The descent to the Moon, which began more than five hours later than scheduled after concerns over the Command Module propulsion system, was completed with Young having to undertake a significant amount of manual flying, owing to the computer taking the Lunar Module down several hundred metres from the target area. Young eventually landed at a spot 60m west of the target area.
During the first EVA, upon setting up the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP), Young inadvertently tripped over the cables of one of the experiments, leaving the sensors unable to communicate with Earth. However, the three EVAs were successful, and saw Young and the Lunar Module Pilot, Charlie Duke, collect several samples, including one nicknamed "Big Muley", a breccia of more than 11kg, which was the largest ever brought back. Following the mission's completion, Young immediately returned to training, as he was named as the backup commander for the following mission, Apollo 17; as this was the final Apollo flight, it was felt more cost effective to have experienced lunar astronauts do this, rather than train new crews with no prospect of flying. Following the end of Apollo, Young was transferred to the Space Shuttle program, becoming the senior astronaut representative. Named as Chief of the Astronaut Office in January 1974, in March 1978 he was named as the commander of STS-1, the first Space Shuttle mission, which launched in April 1981.
5. Ken Mattingly
Answer: Apollo 16
After his selection as an astronaut, Ken Mattingly's experience of the Apollo program came when he was named as a member of the support crew for Apollo 8. Getting onto the ladder put him in line for a crew assignment for a later mission, which came when he was selected to train in parallel with Bill Anders as the backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo 11 - Anders had announced his decision to leave NASA in August 1969, so, in the event of any delays to the launch of Apollo 11, Mattingly would be available then to serve as the backup CMP. As a member of Jim Lovell's crew, this put Mattingly in line to go to the Moon on Apollo 14, although he, alongside Lovell and Fred Haise, were subsequently named as the prime crew of Apollo 13. However, as a result of Mattingly having no immunity to the disease, when the prime and backup crews were exposed to rubella, Mattingly's place was taken by his backup, Jack Swigert. This saw Mattingly reassigned to John Young's crew, which eventually flew to the Moon on Apollo 16.
As with the previous flight, Mattingly's mission objectives during his time spent alone in lunar orbit were extensive, and related both to photography and the sensor suite fitted to the Service Module. This work was hampered by a number of malfunctions in various pieces of equipment, which saw Mattingly engaged as much in system management as his mission objectives, an issue made harder by the fact that the mission was ended a day early. During the return to Earth, Mattingly performed an EVA in deep space to retrieve the storage tapes from the sensor suite, the second time this had been done, during which he also set up an experiment evaluating the response of microbes to the deep space environment. Following the completion of Apollo 16, Mattingly moved to the Space Shuttle program, serving in several managerial positions, before being named as the commander of STS-4, the fourth and final test flight of the Shuttle system.
6. Charlie Duke
Answer: Apollo 16
Following his initial selection as an astronaut in 1966, Charlie Duke was one of his group that was assigned as one of the Lunar Module specialists in the Astronaut Office, leading him onto a pathway to go to ultimately go to the Moon as a Lunar Module Pilot. Subsequently assigned to the support crew of Apollo 10, Duke's experience with the LM led to the mission commander, Tom Stafford, personally requesting that he be assigned as the Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) during the phase of the flight in which the LM would fly separately. Uniquely, he fulfilled the same role on the following mission, Apollo 11, serving during the period of the actual landing, again having been requested by the commander, Neil Armstrong. Following his work on the support crew, Duke was assigned to the crew commanded by John Young, serving as the LMP. This crew was named as the backup for Apollo 13, which led to them being assigned as the prime crew of Apollo 16.
During the training for the flight, on a geology trip to Hawaii in December 1971, Duke caught flu, which led to pneumonia developing, leading to worries he might not be well enough to go, as launch was scheduled for 17 March 1972. However, issues with both the spacecraft and the astronauts' spacesuits led to launch being postponed to 16 April, by when Duke was fit to fly. Following the flight to the Moon, the landing was delayed by six hours owing to a potential malfunction with the Service Module engine, which ultimately led to the time spent on the surface being shortened. During his 71 hours spent on the surface, Duke participated in three EVAs, which saw the largest single sample collected. During his last few moments on the surface, he attempted to set a record for jumping on the Moon, leaping 2 feet 8 inches upwards, but overbalancing and falling onto his life support backpack. Duke took part in a further EVA, assisting Ken Mattingly retrieve the data storage tapes from the SM sensor suite on the flight back to Earth. After Apollo 16, Duke went straight back into training as backup LMP for Apollo 17, before ultimately retiring from NASA in 1976 to return to the US Air Force.
7. Gene Cernan
Answer: Apollo 17
Following his flight to the Moon on Apollo 10, Gene Cernan returned himself to the flight rotation with a view to eventually walking on the Moon. However, although he was given the opportunity to serve as the Lunar Module Pilot on the crew commanded by John Young, he turned this down as he sought a command of his own. As a result, he was appointed to command the crew that was named as backup for Apollo 14, with Ron Evans as Command Module Pilot and Joe Engle as Lunar Module Pilot. This meant he was in line to be the prime crew commander of Apollo 17, although it was at a time of increasing uncertainty over the future of the Apollo program. Ultimately, following the cancellation of Apollo 18, 19 and 20, Apollo 17 became the final landing mission, which would make Cernan the final human to leave the surface, while, following pressure from the scientific community, Cernan agreed to the replacement of Engle with Harrison Schmitt, a trained geologist, as LMP.
Following the landing, Cernan, during the offloading of the Lunar Roving Vehicle, managed to break one of the fenders, which led to the wheels covering the astronauts in dust while in motion. An initial fix of taping a map to the damaged fender was unsuccessful, and it as only at the start of the second EVA that a more permanent repair was undertaken. During the more than three days spent on the surface, Cernan and Schmitt traveled a total of almost 36km, including one during the second EVA that saw them drive 7.6km from the Lunar Module, the furthest distance anyone had traveled on the surface from safety. Following the completion of Apollo 17, Cernan remained with NASA until 1976, when he left to join Coral Petroleum, before starting his own consultancy business in 1981.
8. Ron Evans
Answer: Apollo 17
Ron Evans was a US Navy aviator deployed aboard an aircraft carrier flying combat missions over Vietnam when he received the offer from NASA to become an astronaut in 1966. Upon joining NASA, Evans was selected as one of the members of his astronaut group to become a Command Module specialist. In this role, he was assigned to the support crew of the first manned Apollo mission, and was working in the spacecraft on 26 January, the day before the fatal fire that led to the deaths of the prime crew. Once the program was back on track, Evans was assigned to the support crew of Apollo 7, which was the first manned flight to be launched. Evans was subsequently assigned to the support crew of Apollo 11, and undertook Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) duties on three Apollo flights.
Evans' work during the early stages of Apollo was enough to convince Deke Slayton to give him a crew assignment, and he was named as the Command Module Pilot on the crew commanded by Gene Cernan, which was named as the backup for Apollo 14. This put them, under the standard crew rotation, in line to serve as the prime crew of Apollo 17. As a result, on 13 August 1971, Evans was named as the Command Module Pilot of what turned out to be the final lunar landing mission. Evans' period in orbit around the Moon was spent with an extensive flight plan of tasks, such that on one morning he overslept by an hour. Despite his extensive list of tasks, Evans was able to complete all of his photographic objectives while alone in orbit, while also undertaking his own EVA while on the journey home to retrieve the data tapes from the Service Module's sensor platform. After Apollo 17, Evans returned to flight rotation and served as the backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo-Soyuz, and also undertook development work on the Space Shuttle before retiring from NASA in 1977.
9. Harrison Schmitt
Answer: Apollo 17
Harrison Schmitt joined NASA in 1965 as one of the first group of scientist astronauts to be recruited. As a geologist, he worked for the US Geological Survey prior to his selection, developing techniques for geological sampling and observation that would go on to be used on the Moon. Schmitt continued this work after joining NASA, becoming heavily involved in developing the geology training for the crews selected for lunar landing missions. However, he also spent considerable time becoming acquainted with the systems of the Command Module and Lunar Module. As a result, he became the first member of his astronaut group to receive a flight assignment, when he was named as Lunar Module Pilot to the crew led by Dick Gordon, which was named as the backup crew for Apollo 15, putting Schmitt in line for a crew spot to walk on the Moon on Apollo 18, scheduled for some time in 1973. But, the cancellation of Apollo 18 led to major lobbying from the scientific community for Schmitt, a professional scientist, to be included on one of the remaining landing missions.
In August 1971, Schmitt was transferred from Gordon's crew to the one commanded by Gene Cernan, replacing Joe Engle in the process. This crew was then named as the prime crew of Apollo 17, which was launched as the last landing mission in December 1972. During the three day stay on the lunar surface, Schmitt and Cernan undertook three EVAs, during the third of which Schmitt collected a sample of troctolite that was identified as the oldest rock sample brought back that had not been affected by some other geologic event. Following departure from lunar orbit, Schmitt undertook another EVA, this time in deep space assisting Command Module Pilot Ron Evans in retrieving the data storage tapes from the Service Module sensor platform. After the completion of Apollo 17, Schmitt was involved in the work to document all of Apollo's geologic results, before resigning from NASA in 1975 to run for election to the United States Senate.
10. Tom Stafford
After returning from the flight of Apollo 10, Tom Stafford temporarily replaced Alan Shepard, who was then in training for the flight of Apollo 14, as chief of the Astronaut Office. In this role, Stafford assumed responsibility for future assignments for both the lunar landing missions and the planned flights to Skylab, the space station to be constructed using spare Apollo hardware. During his time in this role, the United States and the Soviet Union came to an agreement to mount a joint space mission in 1975. Following Shepard's return to his previous role, Stafford returned to the flight rotation and, in late 1972, following his promotion to brigadier general in the US Air Force, he was named as the commander of the Apollo flight of what became known as the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP).
The Apollo flight was launched on 15 July 1975, seven hours after the equivalent Soyuz flight was launched from the Soviet Union. Two days after both flights entered orbit, the two spacecraft rendezvoused and, using the special module designed for the flight, docked to form a single orbiting station. Three hours after docking, the airlock was opened and Stafford exchanged a handshake through the open hatch with his counterpart, Alexei Leonov, the commander of the Soyuz mission. During the 44 hours that the spacecraft were docked, the crews undertook a number of experiments and activities, which included speaking to each other in both English and Russian - Stafford's pronounced Oklahoma accent led to Leonov joking that a third language - "Oklahomski" - was also being used. After the flight was completed, Stafford assumed command of the Air Force Flight Test Center in California, a post he remained in until retiring from the Air Force in 1979.
11. Vance Brand
Vance Brand was recruited by NASA in 1966, and received his first major assignment two years later when he was named the Command Module Pilot for the series of thermal vacuum chamber tests on the Apollo Command Module. Following this work, he was named to the support crews of both Apollo 8 and Apollo 13, during the latter of which he was also one of the Capsule Communicators (CAPCOM), on duty for the crucial PC+2 burn that reduced the time needed to return to Earth. His first crew assignment came when he was named as the Command Module Pilot to the crew commanded by Dick Gordon, which was named as the backup crew for Apollo 15, and put Brand in line to serve on the prime crew of Apollo 18. However, this mission was cancelled in 1970, leaving Brand with no opportunity to fly to the Moon. As a result, he was moved to the Skylab program, and was named as the backup commander for both Skylab 3 and Skylab 4, as well as the proposed Skylab Rescue flight, before receiving his first prime crew assignment as Command Module Pilot of the joint US-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz mission.
During the Apollo flight, the spacecraft spent a total of nine days in orbit, including 44 hours docked with Soyuz, during which time the two spacecraft undertook a number of undocking and redocking maneuvers, which saw Brand, in his role as CMP, take both active and non-active roles, depending on which of the spacecraft in turn was serving as the active one in terms of maneuvering. The mission was deemed a major success, with the only serious problem occurring during the Apollo re-entry when Brand, having missed an item in the checklist, failed to shut off the Reaction Control System, which allowed toxic hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide fumes to enter the cabin through an air intake. As a result, Brand and his crew mates had to spend two weeks in hospital after the end of the flight. Following Apollo-Soyuz, Brand remained with the astronaut corps, eventually named as commander of STS-5, the first fully operational flight of the Space Shuttle, in 1982. He subsequently commanded two more shuttle missions before leaving the Astronaut Office to take up a management position within NASA in 1992.
12. Deke Slayton
Deke Slayton was recruited by NASA as one of the original group of astronauts in 1959, and was assigned as the representative for the development of the Atlas booster that, in 1962, was to have taken him into orbit as the pilot of his Mercury flight, the second planned orbital mission, which he christened Delta 7. However, during training he had been diagnosed with idiopathic atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heartbeat, which led to his being medically disqualified from spaceflight. As a result, Slayton was initially named as Chief Astronaut, and Assistant Director of Flight Crew Operations, before being named Director of Flight Crew Operations in 1966, putting him in charge of crew selection and training for all future manned space missions for NASA. It was Slayton that instigated the crew rotation system of a crew serving as backup, then missing two flights before being named as a prime crew. However, despite his position as a senior manager, Slayton continued to work to have his flight status restored. In 1971, after a significant period without any problems, he was examined by specialists at the Mayo Clinic, who declared him medically fit. As a result, in March 1972 NASA returned Slayton to active flight status. In 1973, he was assigned to the crew of the planned US-Soviet joint flight intended for 1975, Apollo-Soyuz, in which he would serve as the Docking Module Pilot.
Alongside his crew mates, Slayton began two years of training for the mission, which included several trips to the Soviet Union and an intensive course in the Russian language, alongside his management duties during the Skylab program. He eventually resigned his management position in February 1974 to devote himself to preparing for the flight. Upon its launch on 15 July 1971, Slayton, then aged 51, was the oldest astronaut to fly in space up to that point, and was also the astronaut with the longest period between selection and making his first spaceflight. Slayton eventually remained in space for just over nine days in what was his only spaceflight, before returning to a management role within NASA as part of the Space Shuttle Program upon the completion of the mission. Slayton served as manager of the Approach and Landing Test program, and officially stayed on until 1980 to run the shuttle's Orbital Flight Tests before finally leaving NASA in 1982.