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24th of August 2021
50th anniversary of Apollo 15
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 15 mission to the moon. Crewed by David Scott, James Irwin and Alfred Worden, Apollo 15 was launched on 26 July 1971 with splashdown back on Earth on 7 August 1971. Apollo 15 involved a longer stay on the Moon and a greater focus on science than earlier landings, with the first use of the Lunar Roving Vehicle. The rover allowed Scott and Irwin to travel further from the lunar module, and they spent 18.5 hours on the Moon's surface, collecting 77 kg of surface material. As Hamish Lindsay recounts in his essay on the honeysucklecreek.net website, the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station covered all the critical parts of that mission -- including the excursions on the surface of the moon and the first lunar rover downlink to the ground, Although the station had been almost completely rebuilt between Apollo 14 (February 1971) and Apollo 15, the mission ran seamlessly. The image above was taken by Scott at the end of the first EVA -- Extra Vehicular Activity. He was standing in the shadow of the Lunar Module looking towards the 4.5 km high Mount Hadley. The camera and high-gain antenna are in their stowed positions, with some of the geology tool handles sticking up at the back of the Rover. (Image credit: honeysucklecreek.net)

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