29 Facts About Gene Cernan


Eugene Andrew Cernan was an American astronaut, naval aviator, electrical engineer, aeronautical engineer, and fighter pilot.


Gene Cernan traveled into space three times and to the Moon twice: as pilot of Gemini 9A in June 1966, as lunar module pilot of Apollo 10 in May 1969, and as commander of Apollo 17 in December 1972, the final Apollo lunar landing.


Gene Cernan was a backup crew member of the Gemini 12, Apollo 7 and Apollo 14 space missions.


Gene Cernan's father was of Slovak descent and his mother was of Czech ancestry.


Gene Cernan was a Boy Scout and earned the rank of Second Class.


At Purdue, Gene Cernan was president of the Quarterdeck Society and the Scabbard and Blade, and a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society and Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society.


Gene Cernan was on the military ball committee and was a member of the Skull and Crescent leadership honor society.

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In 1956, Gene Cernan received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering; his final GPA was 5.1 out of 6.0.


Gene Cernan changed to active duty and attended flying training at Whiting Field, Florida, Barron Field, Texas, NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and NAS Memphis, Tennessee.


Gene Cernan made at least 200 successful landings on aircraft carriers.


Gene Cernan was originally selected with Thomas Stafford as backup pilot for Gemini 9.


Gene Cernan performed the second American EVA, the third-ever spacewalk, but overexertion caused by a lack of limb restraints prevented testing of the Astronaut Maneuvering Unit and forced the early termination of the spacewalk.


Gene Cernan was a backup pilot for the Gemini 12 mission.


Gene Cernan turned down the opportunity to walk on the Moon as Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 16, preferring to risk missing a flight for the opportunity to command his own mission.


Gene Cernan fought to keep his crew together; given the choice of flying with Schmitt as LMP or seeing his entire crew removed from Apollo 17, Gene Cernan chose to fly with Schmitt.


Gene Cernan is one of only three astronauts to travel to the Moon on two occasions; the others being Jim Lovell and John Young.


Gene Cernan is one of only twelve people to have walked on the Moon.


In 1976, Gene Cernan retired from the Navy with the rank of captain and went from NASA into private business, becoming Executive Vice President of Coral Petroleum Inc before starting his own company, The Gene Cernan Corporation, in 1981.


In 1981 and 1982, Gene Cernan joined Frank Reynolds and Jules Bergman on the extensive ABC coverage of the first 3 Space Shuttle launches.


Gene Cernan is featured in the space exploration documentary In the Shadow of the Moon in which he said, "truth needs no defense" and "nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the Moon away from me".


Gene Cernan paired his criticism of the cancellation of Constellation with expressions of skepticism about Commercial Resupply Services and Commercial Crew Development, NASA's planned replacements for that program's role in supplying cargo and crew to the International Space Station.


In 2014, Gene Cernan appeared in the documentary The Last Man on the Moon, made by British filmmaker Mark Craig and based on Gene Cernan's 1999 memoir of the same title.


Gene Cernan died in a hospital in Houston on January 16,2017, at the age of 82.


Gene Cernan's funeral was held at St Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston.


Gene Cernan was buried with full military honors at Texas State Cemetery, the first astronaut to be buried there, in a private service on January 25,2017.

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Gene Cernan was a member of several organizations, including Fellow, American Astronautical Society; member, Society of Experimental Test Pilots; member, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, Phi Gamma Delta, and The Explorers Club.


On July 2,1974, Gene Cernan was a roaster of Don Rickles on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast.


Gene Cernan was featured in the Discovery Channel's 2008 documentary miniseries When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions, talking about his involvement and missions as an astronaut.


The story is inaccurate, as Gene Cernan wrote her initials in the dust, not on a rock.