Charlie Duke is the youngest of the twelve moonwalkers. I met him at the Autographica event held in Birmingham in April 2009. He is one of the most charming people you could wish to meet!
You can see him signing one of his official NASA photos for me in the photograph below.
Charles Moss Duke was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1935. He attended High School in Lancaster, South Carolina, and later graduated from the Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida. He joined the US Air Force in Georgia and graduated with distinction from Webb Air base in Texas in 1958. After completing advanced training on F-86
Sabre aircraft, Duke served for three years as a fighter interceptor pilot in Germany.
Charlie Duke signing my photograph
Duke graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California in 1965, but remained there as an instructor until April 1966 when he was chosen by NASA to become one of their 19 astronauts.
He served as a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo 10 flight. and was the CAPCOM (capsule communicator) for Apollo 11, the flight that saw Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin become the first men to set foot on the moon. He also served as backup lunar module pilot on Apollo 13 and 17.
Apollo 16 mission insignia
Charlie Duke the astronaut
The Apollo 16 astronauts were John Young (the commander), Charlie Duke (pilot of the lunar module Orion) and Thomas 'Ken' Mattingly (pilot of the command module Caspar). The mission's insignia shows an eagle perched on the top of a red, white & blue shield superimposed on a lunar surface scene. There is a gold symbol of flight across the face of the shield, similar to that on the official NASA logo.
Apollo 16 crew Thomas 'Ken' Mattingly, John Young & Charlie Duke
logo. The border surrounding the shield is a circle of 16 stars, with the crew’s surnames at the bottom. The patch was designed by NASA artist Barbara Matelski from ideas submitted by Young, Mattingly and Duke.
Apollo 16 was the tenth manned flight in the Apollo program, and the fifth mission to actually land on the Moon. It was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre on 16th April 1972, with the lunar module landing in the Descartes highland region of the moon's surface five days later.
Duke and Young's stay on the lunar surface was a record-setting total of 71 hours and 14 minutes. They each logged more than 20 hours, during moon walks on three separate days, collecting many rock and soil samples. They brought back nearly 213 lbs in total, in
Duke with the lunar rover on the Moon
Apollo 16 launches at the Kennedy Space Centre
Duke by the rim of Plum Crater
CharlieDuke with the lunar rover
Caspar as seen from the lunar module Orion
Charlie Duke salutes the American flag
Duke and Young also conducted performance tests with the lunar rover, at one time getting up to a top speed of eleven mph, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the record speed for any wheeled ve
vehicle on the Moon! Whilst in orbit in the command module Caspar, Mattingly had the task of photographing an area of the moon's surface around its equator.
Before returning to Earth, Duke left two items on the moon - a photo of his family, with the message on the back, "This is the family of Astronaut Duke from Planet Earth. Landed on the
Lunar Rover and Lunar Module on the Moon
Charlie Duke left a family photo on
the Moon, April 1972" along with a commemorative medal celebrating the 25th anniversary of the US Air Force.
the Moon before returning to Earth
Apollo 16 splashes down 27th April 1972
Apollo 16 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 27th April 1972 following more than eleven days in space. The command module Caspar was recovered by the USS Ticonderoga, and is currently on display at the U.S. Space &
& Rocket Center, in Huntsville, Alabama.
Command module Caspar brought
aboard the rescue ship Ticonderoga
In December 1975, Duke retired from NASA to become Commander for the USAF Recruiting Service. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1979 and retired in 1986. Since
Charlie Duke married Dorothy Claiborne in 1963, and they have two sons, Charles and Thomas, and nine grandchildren.
1976, Duke has been involved as a director of a variety of businesses including his own Charlie Duke Enterprises (which has produced two space videos). He is also much in demand as an entertaining and informative speaker, and he has appeared on many TV shows.
Dottie & Charlie Duke
Wiith sons Charles & Thomas in 1972
Charlie enjoys hunting, fishing, reading & golf, and is an active
In 1990, Charlie and Dottie published the book Moonwalker. In this, he tells, in a very frank and honest manner, how his life as an astronaut affected those around him,
Christian Lay Witness, speaking at numerous churches .
including a 25 pound rock, the largest single rock returned by any Apollo astronauts. They used their Lunar Rover to travel over some very rough terrain.
particularly his family.
Watch amazing videos of the Apollo missions on:
Charlie Duke has signed this photograph for me
Charlie Duke's Official Website:
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