Book 33: Falling to Earth by Al Worden


PIMG_7727Falling to Earth by Al Worden with Francis French

Finished reading 5.02.2013

Rating 9/10

Falling to Earth must be one of the latest books about an Apollo mission, this one about Apollo 15’s command module pilot Al Worden.

As far as astronauts go, there wasn’t much of a variety in their education, so West Point and Air Force was it for Worden too. And then a foreign exchange program in UK, from which he was pulled out and into NASA’s astronaut corps.

That’s the part where the fun starts… Well sort of… The descriptions of training and preparing for the mission are some of the best parts of the book together with the moon-flight itself.

I especially liked the part, where Al’s crew-mates have just docked with the command module in lunar orbit and are getting ready to head back to Earth, and he mentions that he’d rather want to be orbiting the moon solo even longer, instead of getting back home.

I got thinking that had it been me, then without a sufficient supply of books I’d not really find the desolation around the Moon all that satisfying, even if i’d get to operate the scientific instruments that they had on the command module.

I wonder whether it was more difficult for all the Apollo moonwalkers to go back to earth than it was for those astronauts, who didn’t get to go down to the surface… after all the command module pilots got to do a lot of orbits around the Moon, have a nice view… but the guys who went down – they did it once and then got back up after some time and could never go back…

Well, the book continues after Apollo 15, but for Worden it was almost only down the hill from there, giving something more to think about – profiting from space missions, tensions in NASA astronaut’s corps (that’s an issue in Mike Mullane’s “Riding Rockets” too), or the once an astronaut – always an astronaut issue.

As any great book, this book makes you dream, maybe not of a brighter tomorrow, but a dustier lonelier place where you can enjoy an Earth-rise….


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