This silent news footage—produced by Patrick S. Coakley, Jr. for KHOU-TV in Houston—captures the post-flight press conference for Apollo 15. The fourth manned mission to land on the Moon, Apollo 15 launched from John F. Kennedy Space Center, Launch Complex 39, on July 26, 1971. After splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on August 7, the mission's crew flew from the USS Okinawa to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, where they participated in the press event seen here. Flanked by their wives and children, the Apollo 15 astronauts—Commander David Scott, Command Module Pilot Alfred Worden, and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin—smile at the assembled crowd and answer questions about their flight. The three astronauts then depart for Ellington Air Force Base in Houston.
NASA astronaut David Randolph "Dave" Scott was born on June 6, 1932, at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He studied engineering at the University of Michigan for one year before receiving an invitation to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. Graduating fifth in his class in 1954, Scott chose to serve in the United States Air Force. Following his tour of duty at Soesterberg Air Base, Netherlands, he returned to the United States to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning a Master of Science degree in aeronautics and astronautics as well as an Engineer in Aeronautics and Astronautics degree.
Scott began his career with NASA in October 1963 when he selected to join the third group of astronauts. He flew three space missions: as Pilot for Gemini 8 in March 1966, during which he and Command Pilot Neil Armstrong performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space; as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 9 in March 1969, the first mission to complete an earth-orbital qualification and verification test of all Apollo spacecraft and flight operations necessary for a lunar landing; and as Commander for Apollo 15 in July 1971, the first extended scientific exploration of the Moon's surface during which Scott became the eighth person to ever walk on the Moon. In total, he logged 546 hours and 54 minutes in space, of which 20 hours and 46 minutes were spent in extravehicular activity.
Scott remained with NASA following his space missions, becoming the Special Assistant for Mission Operations for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1972 and Director of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center (now known as the Armstrong Flight Research Center) in California in 1975. Scott left NASA in 1977, but maintained his ties to the space program, working in the commercial space sector and serving as a technical advisor for space-related media such as Ron Howard's 1997 film, Apollo 13, and HBO's Emmy-winning television series From the Earth to the Moon.