Photo: Newsman Jules Bergman (left) interviews astronauts Alan Shepard (2nd from right) and Edgar Mitchell (right) during November 1970 training at the manmade crater field near Cottonwood | Astrogeology Science Center, USGS.
By Kevin Schindler
Northern Arizona’s connections to the heralded Apollo Moon missions of the 1960s-70s run deep, as underscored in recent years by the Flagstaff Lunar Legacy celebration. Every astronaut who flew to the Moon trained here, and dozens of local scientists, engineers, and others played a role in the missions. The Lunar Legacy event celebrated this legacy and was centered around the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the Moon, which he took on July 20, 1969. But six later missions also flew to the Moon, with five of them landing on the surface. One of these, Apollo 14, launched 50 years ago tomorrow.
The Apollo 14 mission is remembered for the return of Alan Shepard to spaceflight. He first rocketed into space in 1961—the first American to do so—but was then grounded for medical reasons. Now healed, he commanded the Apollo 14 mission and was joined by Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa. Shepard and Mitchell would explore the lunar surface while Roosa circled ...