Ronald E. Evans

Born in November 10, 1933, in St. Francis, Kansas
BS in electrical engineering from University of Kansas
MS in aeronautical engineering from U.S. Naval Postgraduate School

About the Man

When notified of his selection to the astronaut program, Evans was on sea duty in the Pacific-assigned to VF51 and flying F8 aircraft from the carrier USS TICONDEROGA during a period of seven months in Viet Nam combat operation. Evans was a combat flight instructor (F8 aircraft) with VF-124 from January 1961 to June 1962 and, prior to this assignment, participated in two WESTPAC aircraft carrier cruises while a pilot with VF-142. In June 1957, he completed flight training after receiving his commission as an Ensign through the Navy ROTC Program at the University of Kansas.

Total flight time accrued during his career is 5,100 hours, including 4,600 hours in jet aircraft.

NASA selected Captain Evans as one of the 19 astronauts in April 1966.

About the Spaceflight

Apollo 17

December 7-19, 1972

While Cernan and Schmitt were on the moon's, Evans circled the moon in the command module, completing assigned work tasks including visual geological observations, hand-held photography of specific targets, and the control of cameras and other highly sophisticated scientific equipment carried in the command module.

Evans later completed a 1-hour, 6-minute extravehicular activity during the trans-earth coast phase of the return flight. During his EVA, he successfully retrieved three camera cassettes and completed a personal inspection of the equipment bay area. Although, this was last mission to the moon for the United States,NASA is conducting investigations into the Moon's surface and its spatial features based on the Apollo 17 crew's observations and from photographs taken during the flight.

The flight of Apollo 17 broke several records set by previous flights which include:

  • longest manned lunar landing flight, 3 01 hours, 51 minutes
  • longest lunar surface extravehicular activities, 22 hours, 4 minutes
  • largest lunar sample return, an estimated 115 kg, 249 lbs.
  • longest time in lunar orbit, 147 hours, 48 minutes.

Apollo 17 ended with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean approximately 0.4 mile from the target point and 4.3 miles from the prime recovery ship, the USS TICONDEROGA.

After Apollo 17, Captain Evans logged 301 hours, 51 minutes in space-1 hour, 6 minutes of which were spent in extravehicular activity, holding the record of more time in lunar orbit than anyone else in the world.

Evans retired from the United States Navy on April 30, 1976, with 21 years of service, while remaining active as a NASA astronaut. He was involved in the development of NASA's Space Shuttle Program.

Ronald Evans served as a member of the operations and training group, within the astronaut office, responsible for launch and ascent phases of the Shuttle flight program.

Evans retired from NASA in March 1977 to become a coal industry executive, and passed away on April 6, 1990, at the age of 56.

Click on the Apollo 17 patch to read about Joe Engle's historic spaceflights in more detail.


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Honoring America's First Astronauts

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A Second Group is Chosen

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Eureka! NASA finds its 4th group!

NASA's 5th Group of Astronauts
Pilot Astronauts