Biography of American Astronauts: James Irwin

About the United States astronaut James Irwin, history of the NASA space program and biography of the man.

An Earthy Look at the American Astronauts

James Irwin. James Irwin was with David Scott on that controversial Apollo 15 flight. Shortly after he returned to earth, Irwin retired from the space program "to spend more time spreading the good news of Jesus Christ."

Irwin said that walking on the moon was a religious experience for him, and that he "felt the presence of God" there. Dubbing himself the "moon missionary," he began touring the Southern Baptist evangelical circuit, eventually making trips to the Holy Land and Vietnam.

In his book To Rule the Night, Irwin recalls his experiences on the moon. "And when we were struggling with the difficult tasks on the 1st EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity, i.e., activities away from our Lunar Module on the surface of the moon), when a key string broke and I couldn't get the station up, I prayed. Immediately, I had the answer."

Irwin, who is now president of the High Flight Foundation in Colorado Springs (a religious organization), suffered a severe heart attack recently, but still continues his spiritual activities. As for the controversial space envelopes, he contends that God "played a major part in my individual decision to refuse my share."

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