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Command Module Pilot (CMP)

(glossary entry)


During each one of Apollo's lunar missions and landings, the crew's CMP (Command Module Pilot) remained in parking orbit around the moon (in the Command Service Module, CSM) while the CDR (Commander) and the LMP (Lunar Module Pilot) explored the lunar surface.
The CMP made orbital handheld Hasselblad photographs of the moon. During the last three J-missions (Apollo 15, Apollo 16, and Apollo 17) the CMPs operated the High-Resolution cameras in the SIM-bays (the Scientific Instruments Module - bays) of CSMs Endeavour (Apollo 15), Casper (Apollo 16), and America (Apollo 17).
To retrieve the exposed film-rolls, each CMP had to perform a SIM-bay EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity, a "spacewalk").

The Command Module Pilots:

Apollo 7: Donn Eisele.
The first manned Apollo mission to test a CSM in orbit around Earth. During this mission, all three astronauts remained inside the Command Module.

Apollo 8: James Lovell.
The first manned mission to circumnavigate the moon. The crew of three astronauts didn't split and the CMP was never on his own.

Apollo 9: David Scott
The first manned mission to test a Lunar Module in orbit around Earth. CMP Dave Scott remained temporarily in CSM Gumdrop, while the CDR and LMP tested the LM.

Apollo 10: John Young. John Young and Apollo 10 - by Dana Holland
The first mission to test an LM in orbit around the moon. CMP John Young remained temporarily in CSM Charlie Brown, while the CDR and LMP tested the LM.

Apollo 11: Michael Collins.
Mankind's first manned lunar landing, while CMP Mike Collins remained in CSM Columbia.
AS11-36-5292 is the only photograph of Mike Collins made during the mission of Apollo 11. Research: Jack A. Kozak.

Apollo 12: Richard Gordon. In CM simulator
The second manned lunar landing. The CDR and LMP landed their LM very near the unmanned lander Surveyor 3. Dick Gordon remained in CSM Yankee Clipper.
Richard Gordon's personal website:

Apollo 13: Jack Swigert.
The troubled mission of Apollo 13, without lunar landing. The crew used the LM as temporary lifeboat, and returned safely to Earth in the CM (of CSM Odyssey).
AS13-62-9004 shows Jack Swigert during the mission of Apollo 13.

Apollo 14: Stuart Roosa. Stu Roosa's moontrees-project
The third manned lunar landing, near the "Cone" crater north of Fra Mauro, while CMP Stu Roosa remained in CSM Kitty Hawk. Roosa operated the troubled Hycon camera.

Apollo 15: Alfred Worden. In CM simulator
First one of the three scientific "J-missions".
The fourth manned lunar landing, while CMP Alfred Worden remained in CSM Endeavour. Al Worden performed the first SIM-bay EVA.
Alfred Worden's personal website:

Apollo 16: Ken Mattingly.
Second one of the three scientific "J-missions".
The fifth manned lunar landing, while CMP Ken Mattingly remained in CSM Casper. Mattingly performed the second SIM-bay EVA.

Apollo 17: Ronald Evans.
Third one of the three scientific "J-missions".
The sixth manned lunar landing, while CMP Ron Evans remained in CSM America. Evans performed the third SIM-bay EVA.
Apollo 17's Hasselblad magazine 152-PP shows all of the photographs made during Ron Evans' SIM-bay EVA (see second half of this magazine).
AS17-152-23391 is one of the remarkable photographs of Ron Evans during his SIM-bay EVA. See also this one.

Additional Information

The Command Module Pilots observed all sorts of optical phenomena, such as the Gegenschein (the opposition glow in the solar system). They observed it while they were orbiting over the dark nocturnal part of the moon.
During each one of the manned lunar excursions, the moon was never sunlit at the most western part of Oceanus Procellarum and the Mare Orientale region, and also beyond the western limb (as seen from Earth). On the other hand, the moon's near side was always illuminated by weak Earthshine.
During Apollo 17, CMP Ronald Evans made Nikon photographs of Earthlit surface formations, such as craters Schluter and Hartwig near Mare Orientale.
See also: Unknown lunar regions on orbital Apollo photography

Apollo's dark part of the moon.
Taking photographs of Farside formations beyond the moon's western limb, such as, for example, the basin Hertzsprung and environs, was not possible because these formations were not illuminated by the sun or by Earthshine. It was a "pitch black moon". On the other hand, the antipodal region of Hertzsprung (the northern part of Mare Fecunditatis) was always in sunlight, and was one of the most frequently photographed areas on the entire moon!

Me, myself, and I, in my lonely CSM.
Because they (the Command Module Pilots of Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17) were always alone during the lunar surface explorations of the CDR and LMP, they knew what it was to be the most lonely human beings in the Earth-moon system! A most unusual experience! And... there was no radio contact when they were behind the moon.

The Planets, Gustav Holst.
During his lonely orbits around the moon, Ken Mattingly (the CMP of Apollo 16) listened to all sorts of classic music (on taperecorder), such as Opus 32; The Planets, composed by Gustav Holst.

LPOD Articles


APOLLO FLIGHT JOURNAL. By David Woods, Frank O'Brien, Tim Brandt, Lennie Waugh.