Workers clean Apollo 16 spaceship ahead of 50th anniversary

Apollo 16 Cleanup
Posted at 9:00 AM, Feb 09, 2022

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The Apollo 16 spacecraft is dusty and home to a few cobwebs decades after carrying three astronauts to the moon.

But workers at a space museum are getting the capsule ready for events marking the 50th anniversary of its flight in 1972.

A crew recently used microfiber towels, brushes, and a special vacuum to clean the antique spacecraft, displayed at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The spacecraft is on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and has been displayed in Huntsville since the 1970s, the Associated Press reported.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant a break in the regular cleaning routine.

The news outlet reported that crews cleaning the 6.5-ton, nearly 11-foot-tall capsule also removed dozens of items that people had stuck through cases' cracks.

Visitors were once able to touch the spacecraft, but it's now encased in a glass case for protection.

The last time the capsule was cleaned was three years ago, the AP reported.

The news outlet reported that one member of the 3-man crew from the April 16, 1972 flight, Charlie Duke, will attend the 50th-anniversary celebration, which will happen this spring.