[Ron Evans] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: Ronald E. Evans (Captain, USN, Retired)
NASA Astronaut

Born November 10, 1933, in St. Francis, Kansas. His father, Mr. Clarence E. Evans, and his mother, Mrs. Marie A. Evans, reside in Iola, Kansas.

Brown hair; brown eyes; height: 5 feet 11 inches; Weight: 170 pounds.

Graduated from Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kansas; received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas in 1956 and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1964 .

Married to the former Jan Pollom of Topeka, Kansas.

Jaime D., August 21, 1959; Jon P., October 9, 1961.

Hobbies include hunting, boating, swimming, fishing, and golfing.


Presented the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1973); the Johnson Space Center Superior Achievement Award (1970); the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (1973); Navy Astronaut Wings; eight Air Medals; the Vietnam Service Medal; and the Navy Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device (1966); the University of Kansas Distinguished Service Citation (1973); and Kansan of the Year (1972) .

When notified of his selection to the astronaut program, Evans was on sea duty in the Pacific,assigned to VF-51 and flying F8 aircraft from the carrier USS TICONDEROGA during a period of seven months in Vietnam combat operations.

He was a combat flight instructor (F8 aircraft) with VF124 from January 1961 to June 1962 and, prior to this assignment, participated in two WESTPAC aircraft carrier cruises while a pilot with VF-142. In June 1957, he completed flight training after receiving his commission as an Ensign through the Navy ROTC Program at the University of Kansas.

Total flight time accrued during his career is 5,500 hours, 5,000 hours of which is in jet aircraft.

Captain Evans was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He served as a member of the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 7 and 11 flights and as a backup command module pilot for Apollo.

On his first journey into space, Captain Evans occupied the command module pilot seat for Apollo 17, the last scheduled manned mission to the moon for the United States, which commenced at 11:33 p.m. (CST) December 6, 1972, and concluded on December 19, 1972. He was accompanied on this voyage of the command module America and the lunar module Challenger by Eugene Cernan (spacecraft commander) and Harrison H. (Jack) Schmitt (lunar module pilot). While Cernan and Schmitt completed their explorations of the Taurus-Littrow landing area down on the lunar surface, Evans maintained a solo vigil in lunar orbit aboard the American, completing assigned work tasks which required visual geological observations, hand-held photography of specific targets, and the control of cameras and other highly sophisticated scientific equipment carried in the command module SIM-bay. Evans later completed a one hour and six minute extravehicular activity during the trans-earth coast of the return flight, successfully retrieving three camera cassettes and completing a personal inspection of the equipment bay area. This last mission to the moon for the United States broke several set by previous flights which include: longest manned lunar landing flight (301 hours, 51 minutes); longest lunar surface extravehicular activities (22 hours and 4 minutes); largest lunar sample return (an estimated 115 kg (249 lbs)); and longest time in lunar orbit (147 hours, 48 minutes). Apollo 17 ended with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean approximately 0.4 mile from the target point and 4.3 miles from the prime recovery ship, the USS TICONDEROGA.

Completing his first space flight, Captain Evans logged 301 hours and 51 minutes in space, l hour and 6 minutes of which were spent in extravehicular activity. He holds the record of more time in lunar orbit than anyone else in the world.

Evans was backup command module pilot for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission. This joint United States - Soviet Union earth-orbital mission, launched successfully in July 1975, was designed to test equipment and techniques that would establish an international crew rescue capability in space, as well as permit future cooperative scientific missions.

Evans retired from the United States Navy on April 30, 1976, with 21 years of service, and remained active as a NASA astronaut involved in the development of NASA's Space Shuttle Program until March 1977.


He resigned from the Navy with the rank of captain in April 1976 and from NASA in March 1977.

After leaving NASA, Evans worked for the Western American Energy Corporation in Scottsdale, Arizona, until 1978. He then joined Sperry Flight Systems in Phoenix, eventually becoming director of space systems marketing. Later, Ron Evans formed his own consulting firm.

He died of a heart attack on April 6, 1990.


Click here to return to the SPACE EDUCATORS' HANDBOOK HOME PAGE.