Apollo 16

Apollo 16
John W. Young on the Moon.jpg
John Young on the Moon, with the Lunar Module and Lunar Rover in the background
Mission type Manned lunar landing
Operator NASA [1]
  • CSM: 1972-031A
  • LM: 1972-031C
  • CSM: 6000
  • LM: 6005
Mission duration 11 d 1 h 51 min 5 s
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass 107,226 pounds (48,637 kg)
Landing mass 11,995 pounds (5,441 kg)
Crew size 3
  • CSM: Casper
  • LM: Orion
EVAs 1 in cislunar space to retrieve film cassettes
EVA duration 1 h 23 min 42 s
Start of mission
Launch date April 16, 1972, 17:54:00 (1972-04-16UTC17:54Z) UTC
Rocket Saturn V SA-511
Launch site Kennedy LC-39A
End of mission
Recovered by USS Ticonderoga
Landing date April 27, 1972, 19:45:05 (1972-04-27UTC19:45:06Z) UTC
Landing site South Pacific Ocean
0°43′S 156°13′W / 0°43′S 156°13′W / Apollo 16 splashdown)
Orbital parameters
Reference system Selenocentric
Periselene 20.2 kilometers (10.9 nmi)
Aposelene 108.3 kilometers (58.5 nmi)
Epoch April 20, 1972, 00:27 UTC
Lunar orbiter
Spacecraft component Command/Service Module
Orbital insertion April 19, 1972, 20:22:27 UTC
Orbital departure April 25, 1972, 02:15:33 UTC
Orbits 64
Lunar lander
Spacecraft component Lunar Module
Landing date April 21, 1972, 02:23:35 UTC
Return launch April 24, 1972, 01:25:47 UTC
Landing site Descartes Highlands
8°58′23″S 15°30′01″E / 8°58′23″S 15°30′01″E / -8.97301; 15.50019
Sample mass 95.71 kilograms (211.0 lb)
Surface EVAs 3
EVA duration
  • 20 h 14 min 14 s
  • First: 7 h 11 min 2 s
  • Second: 7 h 23 min 09 s
  • Third: 5 h 40 min 3 s
Lunar rover
Distance covered 26.7 kilometers (16.6 mi)
Docking with LM
Docking date April 16, 1972, 21:15:53 UTC
Undocking date April 20, 1972, 18:07:31 UTC
Docking with LM Ascent Stage
Docking date April 24, 1972, 03:35:18 UTC
Undocking date April 24, 1972, 20:54:12 UTC
  • SIM:
  • LRV: 463 pounds (210 kg)


Apollo 16 crew.jpg
Left to right: Mattingly, Young, Duke
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Apollo 16 was the tenth manned mission in the United States Apollo space program, the fifth and penultimate to land on the Moon and the first to land in the lunar highlands. The second of the so-called " J missions," it was crewed by Commander John Young, Lunar Module Pilot Charles Duke and Command Module Pilot Ken Mattingly. Launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:54 PM EST on April 16, 1972, the mission lasted 11 days, 1 hour, and 51 minutes, and concluded at 2:45 PM EST on April 27. [2] [3] [4]

Young and Duke spent 71 hours—just under three days—on the lunar surface, during which they conducted three extra-vehicular activities or moonwalks, totaling 20 hours and 14 minutes. The pair drove the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), the second produced and used on the Moon, 26.7 kilometers (16.6 mi). On the surface, Young and Duke collected 95.8 kilograms (211 lb) of lunar samples for return to Earth, while Command Module Pilot Ken Mattingly orbited in the Command/Service Module (CSM) above to perform observations. Mattingly spent 126 hours and 64 revolutions in lunar orbit. After Young and Duke rejoined Mattingly in lunar orbit, the crew released a subsatellite from the Service Module (SM). During the return trip to Earth, Mattingly performed a one-hour spacewalk to retrieve several film cassettes from the exterior of the Service Module. [2] [3]

Apollo 16's landing spot in the highlands was chosen to allow the astronauts to gather geologically older lunar material than the samples obtained in the first four landings, which were in or near lunar maria. Samples from the Descartes Formation and the Cayley Formation disproved a hypothesis that the formations were volcanic in origin. [5]


Position [6] Astronaut
Commander John W. Young
Fourth spaceflight
Command Module Pilot Thomas K. Mattingly II
First spaceflight
Lunar Module Pilot Charles M. Duke, Jr.
Only spaceflight

Mattingly had originally been assigned to the prime crew of Apollo 13, but was exposed to the measles through Duke, at that time on the back-up crew for Apollo 13, who had caught it from one of his children. He never contracted the illness, but was nevertheless removed from the crew and replaced by his backup, Jack Swigert, three days before the launch. [7] Young, a captain in the United States Navy, had flown on three spaceflights prior to Apollo 16: Gemini 3, Gemini 10 and Apollo 10, which orbited the Moon. [8] One of 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966, Duke had never flown in space before Apollo 16. He served on the support crew of Apollo 10 and was a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) for Apollo 11. [9]

Backup crew

Position [6] Astronaut
Commander Fred W. Haise, Jr.
Command Module Pilot Stuart A. Roosa
Lunar Module Pilot Edgar D. Mitchell

Although not officially announced, the original backup crew consisted of Fred W. Haise (CDR), William R. Pogue (CMP) and Gerald P. Carr (LMP), who were targeted for the prime crew assignment on Apollo 19. [10] [11] However, after the cancellations of Apollos 18 and 19 were finalized in September 1970 this crew would not rotate to a lunar mission as planned. Subsequently, Roosa and Mitchell were recycled to serve as members of the backup crew after returning from Apollo 14, while Pogue and Carr were reassigned to the Skylab program where they flew on Skylab 4. [12] [13]

Support crew

Mission insignia

The insignia of Apollo 16 is dominated by a rendering of an American eagle and a red, white and blue shield, representing the people of the United States, over a gray background representing the lunar surface. Overlaying the shield is a gold NASA vector, orbiting the Moon. On its gold-outlined blue border, there are 16 stars, representing the mission number, and the names of the crew members: Young, Mattingly, Duke. [18] The insignia was designed from ideas originally submitted by the crew of the mission. [19]

Apollo 16 space-flown silver Robbins medallion.
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