BREAKING: NASA Astronaut Gene Cernan, Last Man To Foot On The Moon, Dead At Age 82
By Space Coast Daily // January 16, 2017
ABOVE VIDEO: FULL INTERVIEW: Captain Gene Cernan – The Last Man on the Moon
(NASA) – Eugene ‘Gene’ Cernan, an early NASA astronaut who was the last man to set foot on the moon, died Monday, NASA announced in a tweet. He was 82.
Details of Cernan’s death were not immediately known.
Cernan was the commander of Apollo 17 in December 1972 – the last lunar mission and one of the final Apollo flights. When Cernan stepped out from lunar module “Challenger” he became the 11th person to walk on the moon. His lunar module pilot, Jack Schmitt, was the 12th. But as commander, Cernan was the last to re-enter the lunar module, giving him the designation of being the last person to walk on the lunar surface.
Cernan was originally selected as backup pilot for Gemini 9 with Thomas Stafford. When the prime crew was killed in the crash of NASA T-38A “901” (USAF serial 63-8181) at Lambert Field on February 28, 1966, the backup crew became the prime crew.
— NASA (@NASA) January 16, 2017
BREAKING: NASA: Former astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, has died at age 82.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 16, 2017
Gemini 9A encountered a number of problems; the original target vehicle exploded during launch, and the planned docking with a substitute target vehicle was made impossible by a protective shroud failing to separate after launch. However, the crew performed a rendezvous that simulated procedures that would be used in Apollo 10: the first optical rendezvous; and a lunar orbit abort rendezvous.
Cernan, a Captain in the U.S. Navy, left his mark on the history of exploration by flying three times in space, twice to the moon. He also holds the distinction of being the second American to walk in space and the last human to leave his footprints on the lunar surface.
In a 2007 interview for NASA’s oral histories, Cernan said, “I keep telling Neil Armstrong that we painted that white line in the sky all the way to the Moon down to 47,000 feet so he wouldn’t get lost, and all he had to do was land. Made it sort of easy for him.”
Born on March 14, 1934, in Chicago, Illinois, Cernan logged 566 hours and 15 minutes in space, of which 73 hours were spent on the surface of the moon, according to NASA.
Fox News contributed to this report
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