Retired NASA astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, has died, the space agency announced. He was 82.
Cernan was the spacecraft commander for Apollo 17, the last scheduled US manned mission to the moon. The launch was the first manned nighttime launch for NASA. The voyage established several other firsts for manned spaceflight, including: longest manned lunar landing flight (301 hours 51 minutes); longest lunar surface extravehicular activities (22 hours 6 minutes); largest lunar sample return (an estimated 115 kg (249 lbs.); and longest time in lunar orbit (147 hours 48 minutes).
Apollo 17 was Cernan’s third space flight. Prior to the December 1972 launch, he was the pilot for the Gemini IX mission in June 1966 and the lunar module pilot for Apollo 10 in May 1969. He also served as the backup pilot for Gemini 12, as backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 7 and as backup spacecraft commander for Apollo 14.
Cernan logged a total of 566 hours, 15 minutes in space, more than 73 of which were on the surface of the moon.