Falling to Earth - The Autobiography of Alfred Worden


 Autographed by the Authors

All book purchases made through Farthest Reaches will be autographed by Al Worden and co-author Francis French as well as containing the added bonus of an autographed, previously unpublished, poem titled "Rising From Earth" from Al Worden. This is not available from any other source and at no additional fee. This previously unpublished poem is  printed on archival, 80 lb heavy classic linen paper and signed in archival black ink. It will fit inside the book and is only available through  book purchases made through

Read about the book and the poem at CollectSpace.Com

Read an excerpt from
"Falling to Earth"

"Falling to Earth" Extra Bonus Content

From FrancisFrench.Net
[used with permission]

In our book “Falling To Earth” we tried to describe people and events in words as much as possible; however, I know there will be places in the book where a reader would like to see a photo. As there is only a limited amount of space in the book, I have added more photos here, from my life today back to my childhood. I hope you enjoy them. All photos are either NASA shots, supplied by JL Pickering, or from my personal collection. Thank you very much to Brent Bernasconi of Skypotato Productions and Sonia López for their outstanding work scanning and restoring old photos.

Best Wishes, and hope you enjoy the book!

Al Worden

Early Life   West Point

Air Force    NASA    After NASA


The authors and co-authors of "Falling to Earth"
Back Row: Col. Alfred Worden & Francis French
Front Row: Gen. Thomas Stafford and Cpt. Richard Gordon
Three people who have made the trip to the moon and back.
3 Record Setting EVA's by Worden and Gordon

Apollo 11 Astronaut, Buzz Aldrin,
 has given his endorsement to
 "Falling to Earth"

Could this be the subject
of Chapter 1?
We'll know in July 2011!

Foreword by Apollo 12's CMP
Cpt. Richard Gordon

Epilogue by Apollo 10 CDR
Gen. Thomas Stafford


Al Worden, MSE’63, HSCD’71 was the command module pilot for the all U-M alumni crew of the Apollo 15 mission. In this exclusive alumni interview he reflects on his path to the moon and what it was like to be on the Apollo 15 flight.


Al Worden's personal Apollo 15 Insurance covers
signed by the entire Apollo 15 crew in 1971
 on sale through FarthestReaches.Com
at an incredible low price!
Press HERE for details!

Insurance Cover

Insurance Cover

Insurance Cover
COA Letter



For Al on his birthday, February 7, 2015 from the Space Hipsters!



Thank you for the many messages expressing interest and excitement about my book. It was a fascinating experience for me to capture my memories of my flight to the moon, forty years ago, along with numerous other adventures. I hope you enjoy reading them.

The web sites below are already taking orders. All of them have Facebook buttons too, and many of them have Twitter and other social media buttons. Pressing them, and adding the book to your online wish list, really helps us raise the profile of this book and spread the word about it through grassroots efforts. Thank you!



Now in your local bookstore or online
Click the links below for more information.



Book Signings
[locations, dates and times subject to change]

Come and meet Col. Al Worden!
[send your book signing photos to
webmaster@alworden.com for possible
 publication on this site. 800 x 600 max,please]


Additional Dates and Places
as soon as they are confirmed.
Times and places are subject to
change. Please contact the venue
to double check!

Check this site daily for
updated signings!

If you have any photos from one of
Col. Worden's book signings, and would like
to see them published on this site, please
e-mail them to webmaster@alworden.com
[no larger than 800 x 600 please]


click for larger photos


Wonderful Q&A Article with Col Worden at Smithsonian.Com

Would You Like a Book Signing Near You?

Smithsonian Books are working hard to add new dates to Al's book tour - however, it takes a local venue to be willing to host a book signing.

So it's an ideal time to get in touch with your local museum or other cultural institution and tell them that an Apollo astronaut who traveled to the moon is available to give a talk and book signing. If interested, they can in turn get in touch with the publisher.


Not every location and venue will work out, as the venue and publisher have to justify costs versus books sold. But there is nothing to be lost by trying, and it is grass-roots efforts like this that might bring an Apollo astronaut to your town to give a talk and give you an autograph for just the cost of a book. Thank you for your support!

Speaking to the folks at Google

Why is Al Worden visiting Mister Rogers' Neighborhood?




Audio Interviews

BoingBoing Feature Interview with Col. Al Worden, Apollo 15 CMP
conducted by Avi Solomon on 1st July 2011
[Used with permission of BoingBoing]


Listen to Al Worden on Coast to Coast using the following links:
Al Worden Interview Part 1/3
Al Worden Interview Part 2/3
Al Worden Interview Part 3/3

Hear Al's interview at Downey, CA [where the Apollo CSM's were built, on Planetary Radio in mp3 format


Sample Amazon.Com Reader Reviews of "Falling to Earth"


by Pierre Mion



Apollo Astronaut Inspires Space Center Crowd
Henry Veneracion, Staff writer, The Downey Patriot

Apollo astronaut Al Worden with an Apollo spacecraft boilerplate at the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, where Worden’s spacecraft was constructed. Worden was at the space center last week signing copies of his latest book, “Falling to Earth.” photo courtesy “Falling to Earth” Facebook

DOWNEY – Al Worden grew up on a farm in Michigan, graduated from West Point (two years after the end of the Korean War), became an Air Force training and test pilot, and, as the command module pilot on Apollo 15, flew to the moon in 1971. Back on earth, he, along with his Apollo 15 commander Dave Scott and lunar module pilot Jim Irwin, addressed a joint session of Congress, was wined and dined by President Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew at the White House, and was honored with a New York motorcade through Manhattan.

His is an incredible story, full of fascinating twists and turns, on one side exhibiting his breathtaking mastery of the skies in his T-38 Talon jet or Hawker Hunter, and on the other showing him humbled by a case of human frailty. Then like a true West Pointer ("duty, honor, country"), he would rise up and again stand tall, and make peace with himself and the world.

Worden related some of his rollicking experiences at last Saturday’s book signing at the Columbia Memorial Space Center in connection with the publication of his book, “Falling to Earth” (Smithsonian Books).

He recounted how in the course of training and writing operational and emergency procedures for the Apollo missions (this was while they trained here in Downey), he or his backup would go over the instruments on the modules again and again until they’d just lodge in the memory. He talked about how, out in space, they would maneuver their spacecraft in the "barbecue" mode on their way to the moon (the book explains this procedure very well: “With no atmosphere in space, the heat from the sun was brutal, and it could scorch the spacecraft skin while the shadowed side chilled far below freezing. Spacecraft systems could fail and windows could crack if we allowed this extreme temperature difference. A slow, gentle spin maintained an even temperature. We’d spend most of our time rotating this way.”).

He mentioned how, on the recovery ship’s deck after their splashdown, to avoid falling down because he didn’t have his sea-legs yet, he just willed one leg to make one step after the other (he said it usually takes two weeks to get your sea-legs back). He remembered how he actually enjoyed orbiting the moon by himself (“Several days with two other guys in a VW Beetle is enough!”).

Connecting most with the estimated audience of some 200 people was the lengthy time that the team spent in Downey, as already mentioned, testing and studying the Apollo 9 and Apollo 12 as well as Apollo 15 modules – all made by North American Aviation here in Downey – and his stays in the Tahitian Village motel; and his selective description of his activities and observations aboard the Apollo 15 spacecraft.

His presentation, laced as it was with a folksy sense of humor and imbued with a self-assured tone that reflected his independent approach to life and problem-solving, seemingly proved so effective that people stood in two rows afterwards to have their books (in most cases more than one copy was tucked under their arms) signed by him and co-author Francis French, British-born director of education for the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

In his foreword to the book, astronaut Dick Gordon, Worden’s Apollo 15 backup and good friend, acknowledged that the fifth group (in the choice of astronauts) which included Worden in 1966, “although they may not have realized it at the time, would play a major role in virtually all American spaceflights from early Apollo missions up to and including early space shuttle flights.” He also said that “Apollo 15 became known as perhaps the best of the Apollo program.”

“With this book,” Gordon added, “you will experience one of humankind’s greatest adventures.”

It’s a forthright, honest, and verifiable claim. Not content with my notes, I finagled a copy of his book and started reading. Worden, as French said to me, “is a great storyteller” He was right. Episode after episode is told briskly, and with narrative punch.

Here, for example, as part of the team’s preparation for the actual mission, Worden describes how they had to study, among other things, geology: “We traveled all over the world to study as many moon-like geologic regions as we could. I spent around ten days exploring the volcanically active regions of Iceland, a place so stark and barren I felt as if I were already on the moon.. We were there in the summertime, and it seemed like the sun never set. You could be out at 3 a.m. and see people strolling the city streets, the stores still open….NASA also sent us to explore Alaska, home to valleys of fumaroles that steamed scalding gases into the cold air. Our planet is a living, changing, dynamic place, and learning this amazed me…We also explored regions in Mexico, California, New Mexico, and the majestic volcanoes of Hawaii. It was a magical experience to walk across the throats of active lava flows in the early Hawaiian morning, as steam rose from cracks in the fresh rock…We also explored lava flows in Oregon…we journeyed to Meteor Crater in Arizona…we visited calderas in Texas…we trekked down to the floor of the Grand Canyon…”

The day of the launch, Worden describes the scene: “The Saturn V rocket was huffing as puffs of vapor vented from it; the tanks were continually topped off. The Saturn V reminded me of a tethered animal pawing at the ground, ready to run. It no longer seemed like a large chunk of metal—it appeared to fume with frustration, ready to be unleashed, unrestrained.” After a few minutes and thousands of miles still farther, this observation: “The beautiful planet Earth stretched below us, with a thin horizon that knifed between sky and black space. It was stunning and strikingly delicate. And because we were so low, we zipped across oceans and continents in minutes.”

And again: “We were shooting for a moving target. Because the moon orbits Earth, we had to aim not for the moon itself, but where the moon was going to be. It was like firing two bullets, wanting them not to hit each other, but to barely miss. If we got it wrong, space was an unforgiving place. We had to trust the math in our flight plan completely. We checked our numbers a lot.”

Again: “In my six days circling the moon, no matter what I was doing, I stopped to look at the Earth rise. It was the most beautiful thing I had every seen or imagined. I would see it seventy-five times in all.”

At age 79, Al Worden still looks alert, sprightly and vigorous, and doesn’t show signs of slowing down. He can’t. Today his energies are focused on running the Florida-based Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which hands out scholarships to bright college students exhibiting “exceptional performance” in science and engineering, and who may someday “make a real difference to future innovation.” He loves what he’s doing and he’s totally committed to it, he said.

The flyer for last Saturday‘s book signing referred to irrepressible Worden as "moon voyager." With his love of adventure, and his achievements to prove it, he fits the description to a T.

He may not now be as recognizable as the more famous Buzz Aldrin or Neil Armstrong or Alan Shepard, but with his book’s publication, more and more people are bound to appreciate his true legacy to the whole space program.

I also like his comment about people rising above issues of race, religion, or politics – to ensure the future of mankind and the planet, very apropos in this critical time when the nation picks its leaders.


Published: September 01, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 20

"Falling to Earth" by Ed Hengeveld
Presented to Al Worden, October 2011

Copyright © 2005-2020 WOWIE Web Design All Rights Reserved
No part of this web site can be reproduced, retransmitted or reprinted
without the express written consent of the webmaster.