This is a replica of the fallen astronaut statue made by Belgian artist Paul van Hoeydonck. The original statuette, along with a plaque listing the names of the lost space travelers, was placed without publicity on the Moon by Apollo 15 commander Dave Scott in August 1971. Scott intended the gesture to commemorate the fourteen U.S. astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who had died previous to the flight of Apollo 15 in 1971.
This replica was given to the Smithsonian Institution on April 17, 1972, the day after CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite revealed, during the broadcast of the Apollo 16 launch, the existence of the "fallen astronaut" and plaque as the first art on the Moon.
The artist donated this statue replica to the Museum in 1986.
Gift of Paul van Hoeydonck