By Christina Maxouris and Andy Rose, CNN
Updated 6:00 AM ET, Thu March 19, 2020
Former American Astronaut Alfred Merrill "Al" Worden talks during prior to the 115th Explorers Club Annual Dinner on March 16, 2019 in New York City.
(CNN)Al Worden, an astronaut from the Apollo lunar program has died, NASA says.
Worden was command module pilot on the Apollo 15 lunar landing -- and although he never got to walk on the moon, he performed three space walks on the flight back from the moon to retrieve film from cameras on the spacecraft, according to NASA.
As astronauts David Scott and James B. Irwin explored mountains on the moon, Worden circled around them.
"During this time he earned a world record as 'most isolated human being' while his crew mates roamed the lunar surface, and he was 2,235 miles away from anyone else," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.
He died Wednesday in Texas at the age of 88. He spent more than 295 hours in space.
Before joining NASA, Worden was a test pilot, instructor and Colonel in the US Air Force, Bridenstine said.
He became an astronaut in 1966, his NASA biography says.
Worden eventually became Senior Aerospace Scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in California. He once said, "Now I know why I'm here. Not for a closer look at the moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth," according to Bridenstine.
"His multiple appearances on the children's show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood surely fueled the desire of many children to pursue careers along the lines of his and become future exploration leaders," Bridenstine said.
"We remember this pioneer whose work expanded our horizons," he said.
CNN's Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.
im Bridenstine @JimBridenstine
I’m deeply saddened to hear that Apollo astronaut Al Worden has passed away. Al was an American hero whose achievements in space and on Earth will never be forgotten. My prayers are with his family and friends. https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-administrator-statement-on-apollo-astronaut-al-worden …
12:01 PM - Mar 18, 2020
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