Whatever Happened to the Apollo 14 Astronauts?
Alan Shepard: The first American in space, he made a 15-minute suborbital flight May 5, 1961 (three weeks after Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space).
He later returned to space as Commander of Apollo 14 in 1971. He used a lunar sample scoop with an attached golf-club head to hit a ball on the Moon. he retired from NASA in 1974 and went into private business in Houston.
In 1994, he published a book with two journalists, Jay Barbree and Howard Benedict, called Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon. Fellow Mercury astronaut Deke Slayton is also named as an author. The book generated some controversy for use of a staged photo purportedly showing Shepard hitting a golf ball on the Moon. The book was also turned into a TV miniseries in 1994. Died from leukemia in 1998 at age 74.
Edgar Mitchell: He was the sixth man to walk on the moon in 1971 after maneuvering the landing module from Apollo 14.
He made two excursions to collect lunar samples with Alan Shepard. Apollo 14 was Mitchell’s only spaceflight.
He retired from NASA in 1972 and went on to become an educator, lecturer and consultant. His interests include consciousness and paranormal phenomena. In early 1973, he founded the nonprofit Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) to conduct and sponsor research into areas that mainstream science has found unproductive, including consciousness research and psychic events. Age: 81.
Stuart Roosa: He started his career as a smokejumper with the U.S. Forest Service in the early 1950s. He joined the Air Force in 1953 and was selected by NASA to become as astronaut in 1966.
On Apollo 14 he spent 33 hours in solo orbit around the Moon, conducting an extensive series of experiments. His ability as a Command Module Pilot was put to the test when initial attempts to dock with the returning Lunar Module failed, and the problems were overcome only by Roosa’s skill and careful coordination of the crew and ground controllers. He also carried tree seeds as part of a joint U.S. Forest Service/NASA project. The seeds were germinated on his return and planted throughout the United States, becoming known as the “Moon Trees”.
He would probably have commanded one of the last Apollo Missions had they not been cancelled (20 missions had originally been planned). He was assigned to the Space Shuttle program until his retirement as a Colonel from the Air Force in 1976.
After leaving NASA and the Air Force, he held a number of positions in international and U.S. businesses, and became owner and president of Gulf Coast Coors in 1981. Roosa died on December 12, 1994 due to complications from pancreatitis, aged 61.
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