Modern History/Space Exploration/Space Race/Apollo Missions

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In detailing the history of the Apollo missions, the most compelling question as a historian is, "where to stop?" As mankind's perhaps most significant achievement, the wealth of information regarding the Apollo missions is overwhelming. Below is a brief overview of the purpose, achievements, and some other critical data regarding each mission.

Apollo 1[edit | edit source]

Apollo 1 – Exterior view of spacecraft after fire.jpg

During a 'plugs-out' (disconnected from any earthbound umbilicals) test, faulty wiring under one of the astronauts seats combined with the cabin atmosphere which was 16 Pounds per square inch (PSI) pure oxygen caused a fire in the cabin, killing all three crew members in less than a minute: Virgil I. ("Gus") Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee. Later missions would use a less combustible mixture of nitrogen and oxygen.

Apollo 4[edit | edit source]

NASA elected to skip Apollo's 2 and 3 and move directly to mission 4. Mission 4 was the first full test of the Saturn V platform.

Apollo 5[edit | edit source]

First test of Command Module in space.

Apollo 6[edit | edit source]

Test of Command Module Heat shield and separation of launch vehicle stages.

Apollo 7[edit | edit source]

Manned test of the Command Service Module in Earth orbit.

Commander: Walter M. Schirra
Command Module Pilot: Donn F. Eisele
Lunar Module Pilot: R. Walter Cunningham

Landing Site: Not applicable; did not leave Earth orbit.

Duration: 10 days, 20 hours, 9 min, 3 seconds.

Apollo 8[edit | edit source]

Manned test of the Command Service Module in Lunar orbit.

Commander: Frank F. Borman, II
Command Module Pilot: James A. Lovell, Jr.
Lunar Module Pilot: William A. Anders

Landing Site: None; no Lunar Module flown with this mission.

Duration: 6 days, 3 hours, 0 min, 42 seconds.

Apollo 9[edit | edit source]

Manned test of the Lunar Module in Earth orbit.

Command Module: Gumdrop
Lunar Module: Spider

Commander: James A. McDivitt
Command Module Pilot: David R. Scott
Lunar Module Pilot: Russell L. Schweickart

Landing Site: Not applicable; did not leave Earth orbit.

Mission Objective: Initial test of Lunar Module. Tested LM engines, backpack life support systems, navigation systems, and docking ability.

Duration: 10 days, 1 hour, 0 min, 54 seconds.

Apollo 10[edit | edit source]

Manned test of the Lunar Module in Lunar orbit.

Command Module: Charlie Brown
Lunar Module: Snoopy

Commander: Thomas P. Stafford
Command Module Pilot: John W. Young
Lunar Module Pilot: Eugene A. Cernan

Landing Site: None; descended to within 14km of lunar surface and returned to orbit.

Mission Objective: 'Dress rehearsal' for Apollo 11 lunar landing. Tested lunar descent and ascent operations.

Duration: 08 Days, 0 hours, 3 min, 23 seconds.

Apollo 11[edit | edit source]

Aldrin Apollo 11 (jha).jpg

First manned lunar landing.

Command Module: Columbia
Lunar Module: Eagle

Commander: Neil Armstrong
Command Module Pilot: Michael Collins
Lunar Module Pilot: Edwin E. ("Buzz") Aldrin Jr.

Landing Site: Mare Tranquilatis (Sea of Tranquility)

Mission Objective: Land on the moon safely and return safely.

Duration: 08 Days, 03 hours, 18 min, 35 seconds.

Apollo 12[edit | edit source]

Command Module: Yankee Clipper
Lunar Module: Intrepid

Commander: Charles P. Conrad, Jr.
Command Module Pilot: Richard F. Gordon, Jr.
Lunar Module Pilot: Alan L. Bean

Landing Site: Ocean of Storms

Mission Objective: Retrieve parts of lunar probe Surveyor 3, deploy Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments package.

Duration: 10 days, 4 hours, 36 minues.

Apollo 13[edit | edit source]

Lunar landing was aborted due to failure of the second CSM oxygen tank, and associated collateral damage. Crew was safely returned.

Command Module: Odyssey
Lunar Module: Aquarius

Commander: James A. Lovell, Jr.
Command Module Pilot: John L. Swigert, Jr.
Lunar Module Pilot: Fred W. Haise, Jr.

Landing Site: Fra Mauro (mission aborted)

Mission Objective: Initial mission was exploration in the Fra Mauro lunar highlands. (mission aborted)

Duration: 5 days, 22 hours, 54 minutes, 41 seconds

Apollo 14[edit | edit source]

Command Module: Kitty Hawk
Lunar Module: Antares

Commander: Alan B. Shepard, Jr.
Command Module Pilot: Stuart A. Roosa
Lunar Module Pilot: Edgar D. Mitchell

Landing Site: Fra Mauro

Duration: 09 days, 02 hours, 2 minutes.

Apollo 15[edit | edit source]

First use of the Lunar Rover (LRV).

Command Module: Endeavour
Lunar Module: Falcon

Commander: David R. Scott
Command Module Pilot: James B. Irwin
Lunar Module Pilot: Alfred M. Worden

Landing Site: Hadley-Apennine region near Apennine Mountains.

Duration: 12 days, 17 hours, 12 minutes.

Apollo 16[edit | edit source]

Command Module: Casper
Lunar Module: Orion

Commander: John W. Young
Command Module Pilot: Thomas K. Mattingly II
Lunar Module Pilot: Charles M. Duke, Jr.

Landing Site: Descartes Highlands.

Duration: 11 days, 01 hour, 51 minutes.

Apollo 17[edit | edit source]

Final Apollo lunar landing. First NASA mission to include a scientist-astronaut (Jack Schmitt).

Command Module: America
Lunar Module: Challenger

Commander: Eugene A. Cernan
Command Module Pilot: Ronald E. Evans
Lunar Module Pilot: Harrison H. ("Jack") Schmitt

Landing Site: Taurus-Littrow, highlands and valley area.

Duration: 12 days, 13 hours, 52 minutes.