James Irwin

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James Irwin
James Irwin
Country: United States
Organization: NASA
selected on April 4, 1966
(5th NASA Group)
Calls: 1 space flight
Begin: July 26, 1971
Landing: 7th August 1971
Time in space: 12d 7h 12min
EVA inserts: 3
EVA total duration: 18h 35min
retired on July 1972
Space flights
Jim Irwin with the Apollo 15 mission LRV

James Benson "Jim" Irwin (born March 17, 1930 in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , † August 8, 1991 in Glenwood Springs , Colorado ) was an American astronaut and lunar module pilot on the Apollo 15 mission. He was the eighth person to step on the moon.


James Irwin grew up in the state of Utah , where he attended high school in Salt Lake City . He then studied at the US Naval Academy and received a bachelor's degree in marine engineering in 1951 . He joined the Air Force and received pilot training in Texas . He studied aerospace and instrument technology at the University of Michigan and was awarded a master’s degree in 1957.

After that he had initially applied unsuccessfully for the NASA astronaut group. In 1963 he was ultimately selected as the Class 4 Military Astronaut . In April 1966 he was finally selected as one of 19 astronauts by NASA. After serving in the support crew for Apollo 10 , the dress rehearsal for the first manned moon landing, he was, together with Commander David Scott and Apollo spaceship pilot Alfred Worden , part of the Apollo 12 backup crew , in which he served as a moon landing pilot.

With the Apollo 15 mission, whose crew consisted of the replacement crew from Apollo 12, Irwin set foot on the moon as the eighth person on July 31 . Again he was the lander pilot and spent a total of 66 hours and 56 minutes on the moon. Apollo 15 was the first lunar mission with a moon car and Irwin became the first passenger on this vehicle as Scott was the driver.

After the rendezvous maneuver with the mother ship, Irwin experienced cardiac arrhythmias ( bigeminus ) while the rock samples and scientific records collected on the moon were being reloaded . During the return flight his rhythm spontaneously returned to normal sinus rhythm .

Shortly after the landing, the entire Apollo 15 crew was assigned as a replacement crew for the last Apollo 17 flight to the moon . In the course of the following year, however, her involvement in the Apollo 15 stamp affair became known. Scott, Worden, and Irwin had taken envelopes with them on their flight that were not expressly approved and that were later sold by a German dealer. Disciplinary proceedings were instituted against the crew, and on May 23, 1972, they were deposed as substitutes for Apollo 17. It was clear that there would be no further space flight for the three, but they were neither convicted nor excluded from the astronaut corps or even NASA. Then Irwin resigned voluntarily on July 31, 1972 from NASA.

From 1973, under the influence of his trip to the moon, he became a Christian preacher . Irwin made several trips to Turkey to Mount Ararat to the Ark to find.

James Benson Irwin, who had long suffered from heart problems, died on August 8, 1991 as a result of a heart attack during a concert tour with his friend, the German singer-songwriter Siegfried Fietz . He left behind his second wife, Mary Ellen, and five children.

See also


  • James B. Irwin; WA Emerson Jr.: Higher than the moon. The story of an astronaut and evangelist , 4th ed., 1987, ISBN 3-7751-0764-9

Web links

Commons : James Irwin  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files