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March 12th, 2009
Moonwalker to visit Texas State

Charles Duke on the lunar surface during the Apollo 16 mission. Photo courtesy of NASA.

STAFF REPORT

United States Air Force (USAF) Brigadier General Charles M. Duke (retired), the youngest of the twelve astronauts who have walked on the moon, will visit and lecture at Texas State on April 7.

Duke’s lecture, “The Adventure of the Apollo Moon Landings,” will take place in the Taylor-Murphy building, room 101, at 6:30 p.m.

Duke was the Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. Along with mission commander John W. Young, Duke spent nearly three days on the lunar surface in the rocky Descartes Highlands. Apollo 16 was the only one of the manned moon missions to have a landing target in the lunar highlands. The mission also collected the largest single lunar sample returned by Apollo astronauts: a 25 pound rock nicknamed “Big Muley.”

Duke had a front row seat to history when he served as the Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) for the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Duke’s voice was heard around the world as he became the first person to speak to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, newly arrived in the Sea of Tranquility. His words to them became famous.

“Roger, Twank…Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue here. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot!”

Duke also served as the backup LMP on the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, which, two days after lifting off, suffered an explosion in the spacecraft’s Service Module halfway to the moon. The astronauts were forced to use the Lunar Module (LM) as a lifeboat for the return trip. After the Apollo 16 mission, Duke served again as backup LMP for the final lunar mission thus far, Apollo 17.

Duke retired from the space program in 1975 after accruing 265 hours of spaceflight, 21 of which was spent on the lunar surface. He settled in New Braunfels with his wife, Dorothy. They have two sons and nine grandchildren.

A former Eagle Scout, Duke became a Christian after his moonwalking experience and is active in prison ministry. He owns Duke Investments and serves as president of Charlie Duke Enterprises. Duke authored the book “Moonwalker.”

The lecture is sponsored by the Texas State Department of History and Phi Alpha Theta. An award from the University Lectures Committee made the lecture possible. The lecture is free and open to the public, with refreshments served afterward.

Official portrait of Astronaut Charles Duke. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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0 thoughts on “Moonwalker to visit Texas State

  1. Personally, I’m very excited about this. I love the space program. Only nine people have walked on the moon, and one of them lives right down the road. Take your kids. This will be great!

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