Apollo 16

Apollo 16 Mission Insignia
Apollo 16 Mission Insignia
Mission statistics
Mission nameApollo 16
Command ModuleCM-113
callsign Casper
mass 30,395 kg
Service ModuleSM-113
Lunar ModuleLM-11
callsign Orion
mass 16,445 kg
Crew size3
BoosterSaturn V SA-511
Launch pad LC 39A
Kennedy Space Center
Florida, USA
Launch date April 16, 1972
17:54:00 UTC
Lunar landing April 21, 1972   02:23:35 UTC
Descartes Highlands
8°58′22.84″S 15°30′0.68″E
(based on the IAU Mean Earth Polar Axis coordinate system)
Lunar EVA duration First 07:11:02
Second   07:23:09
Third 05:40:03
Total 20:14:14
Lunar surface time 2 d 23 h 02 m 13 s
Lunar Roving Vehicle LRV-2
CMP EVA duration 01:23:42
Lunar sample mass 95.71 kg (211 lb)
Total CSM time in lunar orbit 5 d 05 h 49 m 32 s
Landing April 27, 1972
19:45:05 UTC
0°43′S 156°13′W / 0.717°S 156.217°W
Mission duration 11 d 01 h 51 m 05 s
Crew photo
Left to right: Mattingly, Young, Duke
Related missions
Previous missionNext mission
35px-apollo_15_insignia.png (4,320 bytes)
Apollo 15
35px-apollo_17_insignia.png (4,234 bytes)
Apollo 17

Apollo 16 was the tenth manned mission in the Apollo program, the fifth mission to land on the Moon and the first to land in a highlands area. The mission was launched on April 16, 1972, and concluded on April 27. It was a J-class mission, featuring a Lunar Rover and it brought back 94.7 kg of lunar samples. It included three lunar EVA: 7.2 hours, 7.4 hours, 5.7 hours and one trans-earth EVA of 1.4.

The Apollo 16 subsatellite was launched from the CSM while it was in lunar orbit. The subsatellite carried out experiments on magnetic fields and solar particles. It was launched April 24, 1972 at 21:56:09 UTC and orbited the Moon for 34 days and 425 revolutions. It had a mass of 80 lb (36 kg) and consisted of a central cylinder and three 1.5 m booms.

En route to the moon, the Apollo 16 astronauts took several photos of Earth. One of which was with North America in the background, with much of the northern portion of the continent under extensive cloud cover.

Despite a malfunction in the Command Module which almost aborted the lunar landing, Apollo 16 landed successfully in the Descartes Highlands on April 21.


  • John W. Young - Commander (Fourth spaceflight)
  • T. Kenneth Mattingly Jr - Command Module Pilot (First spaceflight)
  • Charles M. Duke Jr. - Lunar Module Pilot (First spaceflight)

Young and Duke served as the backup crew to Apollo 13; Mattingly was slated as the Apollo 13 command module pilot until being pulled from the mission due to his exposure to rubella by Duke.

Backup crew

  • Fred W. Haise, Jr - Commander
  • Stuart A. Roosa - Command Module Pilot
  • Edgar D. Mitchell - Lunar Module Pilot

Although not officially announced, the original backup crew consisted of Fred Haise (CDR), William R. Pogue (CMP) and Gerald Carr (LMP) who were targeted for the prime crew assignment on Apollo 19. However, after the widely expected cancellations of Apollo 18 and Apollo 19 were finalized in September 1970 it meant that this crew would not rotate to a lunar mission as planned. Subsequently, Roosa and Mitchell were recycled to serve as members of the backup crew after returning from Apollo 14 while Pogue and Carr were re-assigned to the Skylab program where they later flew on Skylab 4.

Support crew

  • Philip K. Chapman
  • Anthony W. England
  • Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr
  • Robert F. Overmyer

Mission parameters

  • Mass:
    • Launch mass: 2,921,005 kg
    • Total spacecraft: 46,782 kg
      • CSM mass: 30,354 kg, of which CM was 5840 kg, SM 24,514 kg
      • LM mass: transposition and docking 36,252 lb (16,444 kg), separation for landing 36,743 lb (16,666 kg), ascent stage at lunar liftoff 10,949 lb (4,966 kg)
  • Earth orbits: 3 before leaving for Moon, about one on return
  • Lunar orbits: 64
  • Perigee: 166.7 km
  • Apogee: 176.0 km
  • Inclination: 32.542
  • Period: 87.85 min
  • Perilune: 107.6 km
  • Apolune: 315.4 km
  • Inclination: 168
  • Period: 120 min
  • Landing Site: 8.97301 S - 15.50019 E or 8 58' 22.84" S - 15 30' 0.68" E

LM - CSM docking

  • Undocked: April 20, 1972 - 18:07:31 UTC
  • Docked: April 24, 1972 - 03:35:18 UTC


  • Young and Duke - EVA 1
    • EVA 1 Start: April 21, 1972, 16:47:28 UTC
    • EVA 1 End: April 21, 23:58:40 UTC
    • Duration: 7 hours, 11 minutes, 02 seconds
  • Young and Duke - EVA 2
    • EVA 2 Start: April 22, 1972, 16:33:35 UTC
    • EVA 2 End: April 22, 23:56:44 UTC
    • Duration: 7 hours, 23 minutes, 09 seconds
  • John Young jumps while saluting the American flag. (NASA)
  • Young and Duke - EVA 3
    • EVA 3 Start: April 23, 1972, 15:25:28 UTC
    • EVA 3 End: April 23, 21:05:31 UTC
    • Duration: 5 hours, 40 minutes, 03 seconds
  • Mattingly (Duke - Stand up) - Transearth EVA 4
    • EVA 4 Start: April 25, 1972, 20:33:46 UTC
    • EVA 4 End: April 25, 21:57:28 UTC
    • Duration: 1 hour, 23 minutes, 42 seconds

Mattingly's EVA was only the second trans-earth EVA ever and was used to bring in film from exterior cameras and conduct an experiment on microbial survival.

The splashdown point was 0 deg 43 min S, 156 deg 13 min W, 215 miles (346 km) southeast of Christmas Island (Kiritimati) and 5 km (3.1 mi) from the recovery ship USS Ticonderoga.

Mission highlights

John Young works at the LRV near the LM Orion (NASA)

A malfunction in a backup yaw gimbal servo loop in the main propulsion system of the CSM Casper caused concerns about firing the engine to adjust the CSM's lunar orbit, and nearly caused the Moon landing to be aborted. After a delayed first landing attempt, it was determined that the malfunction presented relatively little risk, and Young and Duke (who were already undocked, and flying LM Orion when the problem occurred) were permitted to land on the Moon. However, the mission was shortened by a day (reducing the time in orbit around the Moon after the LM left the Moon and docked with the CSM), as a safety measure.

Mock-up of Orion on display at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Young and Duke spent three days exploring the Descartes highland region, while Mattingly circled overhead in Casper. This was the only one of the six Apollo landings to target the lunar highlands. The astronauts discovered that what was thought to have been a region of volcanism was actually a region full of impact-formed rocks (breccias). Their collection of returned specimens included a 25 pound (11 kg) chunk that was the largest single rock returned by the Apollo astronauts (nicknamed "Big Muley" after Bill Muehlberger, principal investigator for the mission's geology activities). The scientific results of Apollo 16 caused planetary geologists to revise previous interpretations of the lunar highlands, concluding that meteorite impacts were the dominant agent in shaping the moon's ancient surfaces.

The Apollo 16 astronauts also conducted performance tests with the lunar rover, at one time getting up to a top speed of eleven miles per hour (eighteen kilometers per hour), which still stands as the record speed for any wheeled vehicle on the Moon (listed as such in the Guinness Book of Records).


depiction of the plaque left on the Moon by Apollo 16

The Subsatellite (PFS-2) was a 78cm x 36cm hexagonal cylinder weighing 36.3 Kg. Launched from the Service Module while in orbit around the moon, the subsatellite's mission was to measure plasma, energetic particle intensities and the lunar magnetic fields. The craft was launched through a spring action, that generated a relative velocity of around 1.2 m/s and a spin of 120 rpm. It returned data from 24 April to 29 May 1972 with an orbital period of around 120 minutes. The satellite was launched into a sub-optimal inclination and the orbit decayed earlier than anticipated, with impact occurring after 425 revolutions.

Spacecraft locations

The Casper command module is currently at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, in Huntsville, Alabama. The lunar module ascent stage separated 24 April 1972 but a loss of attitude control rendered it out of control. It orbited the Moon for about a year. Its impact site on the Moon is unknown.

Charles Duke donated some flown items, including a lunar map, to Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. He also left a plastic-encased photo portrait of his family on the moon.

Mission insignia

Panoramic Assembly of Apollo 16 Plum and Flag Craters (moonpans.com)

The circular patch featured an eagle with wings outstretched, perched atop a red, white, and blue shield, over a lunar surface. The vector symbol from the NASA logo was placed on top of the shield, and then across the shield were written the words APOLLO 16. The artwork was bordered in white, with a blue band carrying 16 stars and the crew names. There was a gold border. The patch was designed by NASA artist Barbara Matelski.


I mean, I haven't eaten this much citrus fruit in 20 years! And I'll tell you one thing, in another 12 fucking days, I ain't never eating any more,

John Young, reacting to stomach problems caused by drinking extra orange juice.