Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 41

Apollo 15


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hi res version (598 KB)

Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  26.07.1971
Launch time:  13:34 UTC
Launch site:  Cape Canaveral (KSC)
Launch pad:  39-A
Altitude Earth:  169 - 173 km
Altitude Moon:  108 - 314 km
Inclination Earth:  32.56°
Inclination Moon:  151.28°
Undocking CSM-LM:  30.07.1971, 18:13:16 UTC
Moon landing:  30.07.1971, 22:16:29 UTC
Landing point:  26° 7' 55.99"" N 3° 38' 1.90"" E
Docking CSM-LM:  02.08.1971, 19:10:25 UTC
Landing date:  07.08.1971
Landing time:  20:45 UTC
Landing site:  26° 13' N, 158° 13' W

walkout photo

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alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo


No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Scott  David Randolph  CDR 3 12d 07h 12m  1,5 
2  Worden  Alfred Merrill  CMP 1 12d 07h 12m  1,5 
3  Irwin  James Benson "Jim"  LMP 1 12d 07h 12m  1,5 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Scott
2  Worden
3  Irwin

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Gordon  Richard Francis, Jr. "Dick"  CDR
2  Brand  Vance DeVoe  CMP
3  Schmitt  Harrison Hagan "Jack"  LMP

Support Crew

  Surname Given names
 Allen  Joseph Percival IV "Joe"
 Henize  Karl Gordon
 Parker  Robert Alan Ridley


Launch from Cape Canaveral (KSC); landing 500 km north of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.
During the launch, the second stage of the Saturn V ignited when still close to the first stage, which could have caused a catastrophic event in which the exhaust of the first stage engine would have been forced back into the engine. Despite this, the rocket nominally reached an orbit around Earth a short time later. A couple of hours into the mission, the S-IVB third stage of the rocket reignited to propel the spacecraft out of Earth orbit and on to the Moon.

A few days after launching from Florida, the spacecraft passed behind the far side of the Moon, where the Service Propulsion System engine on the Apollo Command/Service Module ignited for a six-minute burn to slow the craft down into an initial lunar orbit. Once the lowest point of altitude was reached in the orbit, the SPS engine was fired again to further stabilize the orbit of the Apollo CSM/Apollo Lunar Module stack and prepare for landing at Hadley.

The majority of the first part of the day after arriving in lunar orbit, July 30, 1971, was spent preparing the Lunar Module for the descent to the lunar surface later on that day. After preparations were complete, un-docking from the CSM was attempted, but did not occur because of the faulty seal in the hatch mechanism. Command Module Pilot Alfred Worden re-sealed the hatch and the LM then successfully separated from the CSM. David Scott and James Irwin continued preparations for the descent while Alfred Worden remained in the CSM, returning to a higher orbit to perform lunar observations and await their return a few days later.

Soon thereafter, David Scott and James Irwin began the descent to the Hadley landing site on the surface. Several minutes after descent was initiated, at pitch-over and the beginning of the approach phase of the landing, the LM was six kilometers east of the pre-selected landing target. Upon learning of this, David Scott altered the flight path of the LM and touched down at 22:16:29 UTC on July 30, 1971 at Hadley, within a few hundred meters of the planned landing site. While previous crews had exited the Lunar Module shortly after landing, the crew of Apollo 15 would be spending a substantially longer amount of time on the surface than previous crews. In order to preserve their sleep rhythm, the crew elected to spend the rest of the day inside the LM and wait until the next day to perform the first of three Extra-vehicular activities (EVAs), or moonwalks. Before beginning their sleep period, David Scott performed a stand-up EVA, during which the LM was depressurized and the top docking hatch opened to allow him to photograph their surroundings.

The mission was the fourth moon landing in space history. The landing site was the Hadley Apennine region near Apennine Mountains. Lunar surface stay-time was 66h 55m.

Three EVAs were performed by David Scott and James Irwin. The first EVA occurred on July 31, 1971 (6h 33m). After unloading the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), the two drove to the first moonwalk's primary destination, Elbow Crater, along the edge of Hadley Rille. On returning to the LM Falcon, David Scott and James Irwin deployed the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP).

The second EVA was performed on August 01, 1971 (7h 12m). The target of the second EVA was the edge of Mount Hadley Delta, where the pair sampled boulders and craters along the Apennine Front. During this moonwalk, the astronauts recovered what came to be one of the more famous lunar samples collected on the Moon during Apollo, sample #15415, more commonly known as the "Genesis Rock". Once back at the landing site, Scott continued to try to drill holes for an experiment at the ALSEP site, with which he had struggled the day before. After conducting soil-mechanics experiments and erecting a U.S. flag, David Scott and James Irwin returned to the LM.

The third and final EVA by David Scott and James Irwin was performed on August 02, 1971 (5h 01m). During the third and final moonwalk of the mission, the crew again ventured to the edge of Hadley Rille, this time to the northwest of the immediate landing site. After returning to the LM's location, David Scott performed an experiment in view of the television camera, using a feather and hammer to demonstrate Galileo Galilei 's theory that all objects in a given gravity field fall at the same rate, regardless of mass (in the absence of aerodynamic drag). He dropped the hammer and feather at the same time; because of the negligible lunar atmosphere, there was no drag on the feather, which hit the ground at the same time as the hammer. David Scott then drove the rover to a position away from the LM, where the television camera could be used to observe the lunar liftoff. David Scott set up a memorial nearby to the cosmonauts and astronauts who were known to have died up to that time, with a plaque bearing their names and a "Fallen Astronaut" statuette.

After lifting off from the lunar surface 2 days and 18 hours after landing, the LM ascent stage rendezvoused and re-docked with the CSM with Alfred Worden aboard in orbit. After transferring samples and other items from the LM to the CSM, the LM was sealed off, jettisoned, and intentionally crashed into the lunar surface. After completing more observations of the Moon from orbit and releasing the sub-satellite, the three-person crew departed lunar orbit with another burn of the SPS engine.

Alfred Worden performed a 39 minutes trans Earth EVA on August 05, 1971 to remove film cassettes from the cameras in the scientific instrument module. He had completed 34 lunar orbits in the CSM (called Endeavour), while his fellow astronauts were on the lunar surface, and performed several scientific instrument module experiments and cameras to obtain different data.

One of the three main parachutes failed. That results in hard splashdown. The recovery ship was the USS Okinawa.

Photos / Drawings


Apollo 15 traverse

more photos from the moon

more photos from moon orbit


Last update on February 13, 2015.