NAME: Eugene A. Cernan (Captain, USN, (Ret.))
BIRTHPLACE and DATE: Born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 14, 1934. His mother, Mrs. Andrew G. Cernan, resides in Bremerton, Washington.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Gray hair, blue eyes; height: 6 feet; weight: 190 pounds.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Proviso Township High School in Maywood, Illinois; received a bachelor of science degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1956 and a master of science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California; recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Law degree from Western State University College of Law in 1969, an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from Purdue University in 1970, and Drexel University in 1977. Petroleum Economics and Management Seminar, Northwestern University, 1978.
MARITAL STATUS: Single
CHILDREN: Teresa Dawn, March 4, 1963.
RECREATIONAL INTERESTS: His hobbies include love for horses, all competitive sports activities, including hunting, fishing and flying.
ORGANIZATIONS: Fellow, American Astronautical Society; member, Society of Experimental Test Pilots; member, Tau Beta Pi (National Engineering Society), Sigma Xi (National Science Research Society), Phi Gamma Delta (National Social Fraternity), and the Explorer's Club.
SPECIAL HONORS: Awarded two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the JSC Superior Achievement Award, two Navy Distinguished Service Medals, the Navy Astronaut Wings, the Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Special Trustees Award (1969), the Federation Aeronautique Internationale Gold Space Medal for 1972, the Cities of Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York Gold Medals, the VFW National Space Medal in 1973.
EXPERIENCE: Cernan, a retired United States Navy Captain, received his commission through the Navy ROTC Program at Purdue. He entered flight training upon graduation. He was assigned to Attack Squadrons 26 and 113 at the Miramar, California, Naval Air Station, and subsequently attended the Naval Postgraduate School.
He has logged more than 5000 hours flying time with more than 4800 hours in jet aircraft and over 200 jet aircraft carrier landings.
Captain Cernan was one of fourteen astronauts selected by NASA in October 1963.
He occupied the pilot seat alongside of command pilot Tom Stafford on the Gemini IX mission. During this 3-day flight which began on June 3, 1966, the spacecraft achieved a circular orbit of 161 statute miles; the crew used three different techniques to effect rendezvous with the previously launched Augmented Target Docking Adapter; and Cernan, the second American to walk in space, logged two hours and ten minutes outside the spacecraft in extravehicular activities. The flight ended after 72 hours and 20 minutes with a perfect re-entry and recovery as Gemini IX landed within 1-1/2 miles of the prime recovery ship USS WASP and 3/8 of a mile from the predetermined target.
Cernan subsequently served as backup pilot for Gemini 12 and as backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 7.
On his second space flight, he was lunar module pilot of Apollo 10, May 18-26, 1969, the first comprehensive lunar-orbital qualification and verification flight test of an Apollo lunar module. He was accompanied on the 248,000 nautical sojourn to the moon by Thomas P. Stafford (spacecraft commander) and John W. Young (command module pilot). In accomplishing all of the assigned objectives of this mission, Apollo 10 confirmed that operations performance, stability, and reliability of the command/service module and lunar module configuration during trans-lunar coast, lunar orbit insertion, and lunar module separation and descent to within 8 nautical miles of the lunar surface. The latter maneuver involved employing all but the final minutes of the technique prescribed for use in an actual lunar landing, allowed critical evaluations of the lunar module propulsions sytems and rendezvous and landing radar devices in subsequent rendezvous and re-docking maneuvers. In addition to demonstrating that man could navigate safely and accurately in the moon's gravitational fields, Apollo 10 photographed and mapped tentative landing sites for future missions.
Cernan's next assignment was backup spacecraft commander for Apollo 14.
He made his third space flight as spacecraft commander of Apollo 17 -- the last scheduled manned mission to the moon for the United States -- which commenced at 11:33 P.M. (CST), December 6, 1972, with the first manned nighttime launch, and concluded on December 19, 1972. With him on the voyage of the command module "America" and the lunar module "Challenger" were Ronald Evans (command module pilot) and Harrison H. (Jack) Schmitt (lunar module pilot). In maneuvering "Challenger" to a landing at Taurus-Littrow, located on the southeast edge of Mare Serenitatis, Cernan and Schmitt activated a base of operations from which they completed three highly successful experiments, making the Moon their home for over three days. This last mission to the moon established several new records for manned space flight that include: longest manned lunar landing flight (301 hours 51 minutes); longest lunar surface extravehicular activities (22 hours 6 minutes); largest lunar sample return (an estimated 115 kg (249 lbs.)); and longest time in lunar orbit (147 hours 48 minutes). While Cernan and Schmitt conducted activities on the lunar surface, Evans remained in lunar orbit aboard the "America", completing assigned work tasks requiring geological observations, handheld photography of specific targets, and the control of cameras and other highly sophisticated scientific equipment carried in the command module SIM-bay. Evans also completed a 1-hour, 6-minute extravehicular activity on the transearth coast phase of the return flight, successfully retrieving three camera cassettes and completing a personal inspection of the equipment bay area. Apollo 17 ended with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean approximately 0.4 miles from the target point and 4.3 miles from the prime recovery ship USS TICONDEROGA.
Captain Cernan has logged 566 hours and 15 minutes in space -- of which more than 73 hours were spent on the surface of the moon and was the last man of Apollo to leave his footprints on the surface of the moon.
In September, 1973, Cernan assumed additional duties as Special Assistant to the Program Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program at the Johnson Space Center. In this capacity, he assisted in the planning, development, and evaluation of the joint United States/Soviet Union Apollo- Soyuz mission, and he acted for the program manager as the senior United States negotiator in direct discussions with the USSR on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
On July 1, 1976, Captain Cernan retired after over 20 years with the U. S. Navy. He concurrently terminated his formal association with NASA. Cernan joined Coral Petroleum, Inc., of Houston, Texas, as Executive Vice President-International. His responsibilities were to enhance Coral's energy related programs on a worldwide basis.
In September 1981, Captain Cernan started his own company, The Cernan Corporation, to pursue management and consultant interests in the energy, aerospace, and other related industries. Additionally he has been actively involved as a co-anchorman on ABC-TV's presentations of the flight of the shuttle.
Captain Cernan was the second American to have walked in space, having spanned the circumference of the world twice in a little more than 2-1/2 hours. He was one of the two men to have flown to the moon on two occasions, and as commander of the last mission to the moon, Apollo 17, had the privilege and distinction of being the last man to have left his footprints on the surface of the moon.
Currently heads the Cernan Corporation, Houston, Texas, and is Director, Marketing Development-Government/Aerospace for Digital Equipment Corporation.
Elliot See and Charlie Bassett were the prime crew for Gemini 9. On February 28, 1966, they were flying in NASA T-38 trainers to visit the McDonnell plant in St Louis, where their spacecraft was in assembly. Bassett misjudged his landing approach, and in pulling up from the runway hit Building 101 where the spacecraft was being assembled. See, following in on Bassett's tail, followed in, and also hit the building. Both astronauts were killed, and 14 persons on the ground were injured. As a result, the Gemini 9 backup crew became the prime crew, and all subsequent crew assignments were reshuffled. This ended up determining who would be the first man on the moon....
At the first launch attempt, while the crew waited buttoned up in the spacecraft on the pad, their Agena docking target field blew up on the way to orbit. NASA decided to use an Atlas to launch an Agena docking collar only. This was called the Augmented Target Docking Adapter. Ths was successfully launched and the Gemini succeeded in rendezvousing with it. However, the ATDA shroud had not completely separated, thus making docking impossible. However three different types of rendezvous were tested with the ATDA. Cernan began his EVA, which was to include flight with a USAF MMU rocket pack but the Gemini suit could not handle heat load of the astronaut's exertions. Cernan's faceplate fogs up, forcing him to blindly grope back into the Gemini hatch after only two hours.
Seventh manned and third rendezvous mission of the Gemini program. Major objectives of the mission were to rendezvous and dock with the augmented target docking adapter (ATDA) and to conduct extravehicular activities (EVA). These objectives were only partially met. After successfully achieving rendezvous during the third revolution - a secondary objective - the crew discovered that the ATDA shroud had failed to separate, precluding docking - a primary objective - as well as docking practice - another secondary objective. The crew was able, however, to achieve other secondary objectives: an equi-period rendezvous, using onboard optical techniques and completed at 6 hours 36 minutes ground elapsed time; and a rendezvous from above, simulating the rendezvous of an Apollo command module with a lunar module in a lower orbit (completed at 21 hours 42 minutes ground elapsed time). Final separation maneuver was performed at 22 hours 59 minutes after liftoff. EVA was postponed because of crew fatigue, and the second day was given over to experiments. The hatch was opened for EVA at 49 hours 23 minutes ground elapsed time. EVA was successful, but one secondary objective - evaluation of the astronaut maneuvering unit (AMU) - was not achieved because Cernan's visor began fogging. The extravehicular life support system apparently became overloaded with moisture when Cernan had to work harder than anticipated to prepare the AMU for donning. Cernan reentered the spacecraft, and the hatch was closed at 51 hours 28 minutes into the flight. The rest of the third day was spent on experiments. Following the third sleep period, the crew prepared for retrofire, which was initiated during the 45th revolution. The spacecraft landed within a mile of the primary recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp. The crew remained with the spacecraft, which was hoisted aboard 53 minutes after landing.
Attempted to test USAF Astronaut Manoeuvring Unit. Cancelled when Cernan's faceplate fogged over.
Two very serious astronauts get it all right to end the program. Docked and redocked with Agena, demonstrating various Apollo scenarios including manual rendezvous and docking without assistance from ground control. Aldrin finally demonstrates ability to accomplish EVA without overloading suit by use of suitable restraints and careful movement.
Major objectives of the mission were to rendezvous and dock and to evaluate extravehicular activities (EVA). Among the secondary objectives were tethered vehicle evaluation, experiments, third revolution rendezvous and docking, automatic reentry demonstration, docked maneuvering for a high-apogee excursion, docking practice, systems tests, and Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) parking. The high-apogee excursion was not attempted because an anomaly was noted in the GATV primary propulsion system during insertion, and parking was not attempted because the GATV's attitude control gas was depleted. All other objectives were achieved. Nine spacecraft maneuvers effected rendezvous with the GATV. The onboard radar malfunctioned before the terminal phase initiate maneuver, but the crew used onboard backup procedures to calculate the maneuvers. Rendezvous was achieved at 3 hours 46 minutes ground elapsed time, docking 28 minutes later. Two phasing maneuvers, using the GATV secondary propulsion system, were accomplished, but the primary propulsion system was not used. The first of two periods of standup EVA began at 19 hours 29 minutes into the flight and lasted for 2 hours 29 minutes. During a more than two-hour umbilical EVA which began at 42 hours 48 minutes, Aldrin attached a 100-foot tether from the GATV to the spacecraft docking bar. He spent part of the period at the spacecraft adapter, evaluating various restraint systems and performing various basic tasks. The second standup EVA lasted 55 minutes, ending at 67 hours 1 minute ground elapsed time. The tether evaluation began at 47 hours 23 minutes after liftoff, with the crew undocking from the GATV. The tether tended to remain slack, although the crew believed that the two vehicles did slowly attain gravity-gradient stabilization. The crew jettisoned the docking bar and released the tether at 51 hours 51 minutes. Several spacecraft systems suffered problems during the flight. Two fuel cell stacks failed and had to be shut down, while two others experienced significant loss of power. At 39 hours 30 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew reported that little or no thrust was available from two orbit attitude and maneuver thrusters. Retrofire occurred 94 hours after liftoff. Reentry was automatically controlled. The spacecraft landed less than 5 km from the planned landing point on November 15. The crew was picked up by helicopter and deposited 28 minutes later on the deck of the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp. The spacecraft was recovered 67 minutes after landing.
Before the Apollo 1 fire, it was planned that McDivitt's crew would conduct the Apollo D mission - a first manned test in earth orbit of the Lunar Module. Separate Saturn IB launches would put Apollo Block II CSM 101 / AS-207 and Lunar Module LM-2 / AS-208 into earth orbit. The crew would then rendezvous and dock with the lunar module and put it through its paces. After the fire, it was decided to launch the mission on a single Saturn V as Apollo 9. CSM-101 instead would be used to accomplish the Apollo C mission that Grissom's crew was to have flown.
When Schirra's Apollo 2 / AS-205 mission was cancelled in November 1966, the booster went to McDivitt's mission, and it was called AS (or Apollo) 205/208, or AS-258 (before Schirra's cancellation, McDivitt's was AS-278, because it used Saturn IB boosters 207 and 208).
Apollo 7 (AS-205), the first manned Apollo flight, lifted off from Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy Oct. 11, carrying Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donn F. Eisele, and R. Walter Cunningham. The countdown had proceeded smoothly, with only a slight delay because of additional time required to chill the hydrogen system in the S-IVB stage of the Saturn launch vehicle. Liftoff came at 11:03 a.m. EDT. Shortly after insertion into orbit, the S-IVB stage separated from the CSM, and Schirra and his crew performed a simulated docking with the S-IVB stage, maneuvering to within 1.2 meters of the rocket. Although spacecraft separation was normal, the crew reported that one adapter panel had not fully deployed. Two burns using the reaction control system separated the spacecraft and launch stage and set the stage for an orbital rendezvous maneuver, which the crew made on the second day of the flight, using the service propulsion engine.
Crew and spacecraft performed well throughout the mission. During eight burns of the service propulsion system during the flight, the engine functioned normally. October 14, third day of the mission, witnessed the first live television broadcast from a manned American spacecraft. The SPS engine was used to deorbit after 259 hours 39 minutes of flight. CM-SM separation and operation of the earth landing system were normal, and the spacecraft splashed down about 13 kilometers from the recovery ship (27.32 N 64.04 W), the U.S.S. Essex, at 7:11 a.m. EDT October 22. Although the vehicle initially settled in an apex-down ("stable 2") attitude, upright bags functioned normally and returned the CSM to an upright position in the water. Schirra, Eisele, and Cunningham were quickly picked up by a recovery helicopter and were safe aboard the recovery vessel less than an hour after splashdown.
All primary Apollo 7 mission objectives were met, as well as every detailed test objective (and three test objectives not originally planned). Engineering firsts from Apollo 7, aside from live television from space, included drinking water for the crew produced as a by-product of the fuel cells. Piloting and navigation accomplishments included an optical rendezvous, daylight platform realignment, and orbital determination via sextant tracking of another vehicle. All spacecraft systems performed satisfactorily. Minor anomalies were countered by backup systems or changes in procedures. With successful completion of the Apollo 7 mission, which proved out the design of the Block II CSM (CSM 101), NASA and the nation had taken the first step on the pathway to the moon.
Although the systems worked, the crew became grumpy with head colds and talked back to the ground. As a result, NASA management determined that none of them would fly again.
Final dress rehearsal in lunar orbit for landing on moon. LM separated and descended to 10 km from surface of moon but did not land. Apollo 10 (AS-505) - with crew members Thomas P. Stafford, Eugene A. Cernan, and John W. Young aboard - lifted off from Pad B, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 12:49 p.m. EDT on the first lunar orbital mission with complete spacecraft. The Saturn V's S-IVB stage and the spacecraft were inserted into an earth parking orbit of 189.9 by 184.4 kilometers while the onboard systems were checked. The S-IVB engine was then ignited at 3:19 p.m. EDT to place the spacecraft in a trajectory toward the moon. One-half hour later the CSM separated from the S-IVB, transposed, and docked with the lunar module. At 4:29 p.m. the docked spacecraft were ejected, a separation maneuver was performed, and the S-IVB was placed in a solar orbit by venting residual propellants. TV coverage of docking procedures was transmitted to the Goldstone, Calif., tracking station for worldwide, commercial viewing.
On May 19 the crew elected not to make the first of a series of midcourse maneuvers. A second preplanned midcourse correction that adjusted the trajectory to coincide with a July lunar landing trajectory was executed at 3:19 p.m. The maneuver was so accurate that preplanned third and fourth midcourse corrections were canceled. During the translunar coast, five color TV transmissions totaling 72 minutes were made of the spacecraft and the earth.
At 4:49 p.m. EDT on May 21 the spacecraft was inserted into a lunar orbit of 110.4 by 315.5 kilometers. After two revolutions of tracking and ground updates, a maneuver circularized the orbit at 109.1 by 113.9 kilometers. Astronaut Cernan then entered the LM, checked all systems, and returned to the CM for the scheduled sleep period.
On May 22 activation of the lunar module systems began at 11:49 a.m. EDT. At 2:04 p.m. the spacecraft were undocked and at 4:34 p.m. the LM was inserted into a descent orbit. One hour later the LM made a low-level pass at an altitude of 15.4 kilometers over the planned site for the first lunar landing. The test included a test of the landing radar, visual observation of lunar lighting, stereo photography of the moon, and execution of a phasing maneuver using the descent engine. The lunar module returned to dock successfully with the CSM following the eight-hour separation, and the LM crew returned to the CSM.
The LM ascent stage was jettisoned, its batteries were burned to depletion, and it was placed in a solar orbit on May 23. The crew then prepared for the return trip to earth and after 61.5 hours in lunar orbit a service propulsion system TEI burn injected the CSM into a trajectory toward the earth. During the return trip the astronauts made star-lunar landmark sightings, star-earth horizon navigation sightings, and live television transmissions.
Apollo 10 splashed down in the Pacific at 12:52 p.m. EDT on May 26, 5.4 kilometers from the recovery ship. The crew was picked up and reached the recovery ship U.S.S. Princeton at 1:31 p.m. All primary mission objectives of evaluating performance and support and the detailed test objectives were achieved.
The Apollo 14 (AS-509) mission - manned by astronauts Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Stuart A. Roosa, and Edgar D. Mitchell - was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 4:03 p.m. EST January 31 on a Saturn V launch vehicle. A 40-minute hold had been ordered 8 minutes before scheduled launch time because of unsatisfactory weather conditions, the first such delay in the Apollo program. Activities during earth orbit and translunar injection were similar to those of the previous lunar landing missions. However, during transposition and docking, CSM 110 Kitty Hawk had difficulty docking with LM-8 Antares. A hard dock was achieved on the sixth attempt at 9:00 p.m. EST, 1 hour 54 minutes later than planned. Other aspects of the translunar journey were normal and proceeded according to flight plan. A crew inspection of the probe and docking mechanism was televised during the coast toward the moon. The crew and ground personnel were unable to determine why the CSM and LM had failed to dock properly, but there was no indication that the systems would not work when used later in the flight.
Apollo 14 entered lunar orbit at 1:55 a.m. EST on February 4. At 2:41 a.m. the separated S-IVB stage and instrument unit struck the lunar surface 174 kilometers southeast of the planned impact point. The Apollo 12 seismometer, left on the moon in November 1969, registered the impact and continued to record vibrations for two hours.
After rechecking the systems in the LM, astronauts Shepard and Mitchell separated the LM from the CSM and descended to the lunar surface. The Antares landed on Fra Mauro at 4:17 a.m. EST February 5, 9 to 18 meters short of the planned landing point. The first EVA began at 9:53 a.m., after intermittent communications problems in the portable life support system had caused a 49-minute delay. The two astronauts collected a 19.5-kilogram contingency sample; deployed the TV, S-band antenna, American flag, and Solar Wind Composition experiment; photographed the LM, lunar surface, and experiments; deployed the Apollo lunar surface experiments package 152 meters west of the LM and the laser-ranging retroreflector 30 meters west of the ALSEP; and conducted an active seismic experiment, firing 13 thumper shots into the lunar surface.
A second EVA period began at 3:11 a.m. EST February 6. The two astronauts loaded the mobile equipment transporter (MET) - used for the first time - with photographic equipment, tools, and a lunar portable magnetometer. They made a geology traverse toward the rim of Cone Crater, collecting samples on the way. On their return, they adjusted the alignment of the ALSEP central station antenna in an effort to strengthen the signal received by the Manned Space Flight Network ground stations back on earth.
Just before reentering the LM, astronaut Shepard dropped a golf ball onto the lunar surface and on the third swing drove the ball 366 meters. The second EVA had lasted 4 hours 35 minutes, making a total EVA time for the mission of 9 hours 24 minutes. The Antares lifted off the moon with 43 kilograms of lunar samples at 1:48 p.m. EST February 6.
Meanwhile astronaut Roosa, orbiting the moon in the CSM, took astronomy and lunar photos, including photos of the proposed Descartes landing site for Apollo 16.
Ascent of the LM from the lunar surface, rendezvous, and docking with the CSM in orbit were performed as planned, with docking at 3:36 p.m. EST February 6. TV coverage of the rendezvous and docking maneuver was excellent. The two astronauts transferred from the LM to the CSM with samples, equipment, and film. The LM ascent stage was then jettisoned and intentionally crashed on the moon's surface at 7:46 p.m. The impact was recorded by the Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 ALSEPs.
The spacecraft was placed on its trajectory toward earth during the 34th lunar revolution. During transearth coast, four inflight technical demonstrations of equipment and processes in zero gravity were performed.
The CM and SM separated, the parachutes deployed, and other reentry events went as planned, and the Kitty Hawk splashed down in mid-Pacific at 4:05 p.m. EST February 9 about 7 kilometers from the recovery ship U.S.S. New Orleans. The Apollo 14 crew returned to Houston on February 12, where they remained in quarantine until February 26.
All primary mission objectives had been met. The mission had lasted 216 hours 40 minutes and was marked by the following achievements:
Apollo 17 (AS-512), the final Apollo manned lunar landing mission, was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 12:33 a.m. EST December 7. Crew members were astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Ronald E. Evans, and Harrison H. Schmitt. The launch had been delayed 2 hours 40 minutes by a countdown sequencer failure, the only such delay in the Apollo program caused by a hardware failure.
All launch vehicle systems performed normally in achieving an earth parking orbit of 170 by 168 kilometers. After checkout, insertion into a lunar trajectory was begun at 3:46 a.m.; translunar coast time was shortened to compensate for the launch delay. CSM 114 transposition, docking with LM-12, and LM ejection from the launch vehicle stage were normal. The S-IVB stage was maneuvered for lunar impact, striking the surface about 13.5 kilometers from the preplanned point at 3:27 p.m. EST December 10. The impact was recorded by the passive seismometers left on the moon by Apollo 12, 14, 15, and 16.
The crew performed a heat flow and convection demonstration and an Apollo light-flash experiment during the translunar coast. The scientific instrument module door on the SM was jettisoned at 10:17 a.m. EST December 10. The lunar orbit insertion maneuver was begun at 2:47 p.m. and the Apollo 17 spacecraft entered a lunar orbit of 315 by 97 kilometers. After separation of the LM Challenger from the CSM America and a readjustment of orbits, the LM began its powered descent and landed on the lunar surface in the Taurus-Littrow region at 2:55 p.m. EST on December 11, with Cernan and Schmitt.
The first EVA began about 4 hours later (6:55 p.m.). Offloading of the lunar roving vehicle and equipment proceeded as scheduled. The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package was deployed approximately 185 meters west northwest of the Challenger. Astronaut Cernan drove the lunar roving vehicle to the experiments deployment site, drilled the heat flow and deep core holes, and emplaced the neutron probe experiment. Two geological units were sampled, two explosive packages deployed, and seven traverse gravimeter measurements were taken. During the 7-hour 12-minute EVA, 14 kilograms of samples were collected.
The second extravehicular activity began at 6:28 p.m. EST December 12. Because of geological interest, station stop times were modified. Orange soil was discovered and became the subject of considerable geological discussion. Five surface samples and a double core sample were taken in the area of the orange soil. Three explosive packages were deployed, seven traverse gravimeter measurements were taken, and observations were photographed. Samples collected totaled 34 kilograms during the 7 hours and 37 minutes of the second EVA.
The third and final EVA began at 5:26 p.m. EST December 13. Specific sampling objectives were accomplished. Samples - including blue-gray breccias, fine-grained vesicular basalts, crushed anorthositic rocks, and soils - weighed 66 kilograms. Nine traverse gravimeter measurements were made. The surface electrical properties experiment was terminated. Before reentering the LM, the crew selected a breccia rock to dedicate to the nations represented by students visiting the Mission Control Center. A plaque on the landing gear of the lunar module, commemorating all of the Apollo lunar landings, was then unveiled. After 7 hours 15 minutes, the last Apollo EVA on the lunar surface ended. Total time of the three EVAs was approximately 22 hours; the lunar roving vehicle was driven 35 kilometers, and about 115 kilograms of lunar sample material was acquired.
While Cernan and Schmitt were exploring the lunar surface, Evans was conducting numerous scientific activities in the CSM in lunar orbit. In addition to the panoramic camera, the mapping camera, and the laser altimeter, three new scientific instrument module experiments were included in the Apollo 17 orbital science equipment. An ultraviolet spectrometer measured lunar atmospheric density and composition; an infrared radiometer mapped the thermal characteristics of the moon; and a lunar sounder acquired data on the subsurface structure.
Challenger lifted off the moon at 5:55 p.m. EST December 14. Rendezvous with the orbiting CSM and docking were normal. The two astronauts transferred to the CM with samples and equipment and the LM ascent stage was jettisoned at 1:31 a.m. December 15. Its impact on the lunar surface about 1.6 kilometers from the planned target was recorded by four Apollo 17 geophones and the Apollo 12, 14, 15, and 16 seismometers emplaced on the surface. The seismic experiment explosive packages that had been deployed on the moon were detonated as planned and recorded on the geophones.
During the coast back to earth, Evans left the CSM at 3:27 p.m. EST December 17 for a 1-hour 7-minute inflight EVA and retrieved lunar sounder film and panoramic and mapping camera cassettes from the scientific instrument module bay. The crew conducted the Apollo light- flash experiment and operated the infrared radiometer and ultraviolet spectrometer.
Reentry, landing, and recovery were normal. The command module parachuted into the mid-Pacific at 2:25 p.m. EST December 19, 6.4 kilometers from the prime recovery ship, U.S.S. Ticonderoga. The crew was picked up by helicopter and was on board the U.S.S. Ticonderoga 52 minutes after the CM landed. All primary mission objectives had been achieved.
Explored lunar surface near LM and deployed ALSEP unmanned scientific station equipment.
Drove in lunar rover to South Massif.
Drove in lunar rover to North Massif.
Threw excess equipment out of LM before lift-off.
Threw excess equipment out of LM before lift-off.