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The Apollo project was the U. S. project to land a man on the moon. Apollo is also the collective name of the spacecraft, comprising the Apollo Lunar Module (LM, or LEM), the Apollo Command Module (CM), and the Service Module (SM). The Apollo spacecraft were launched with the Saturn-1b booster (for missions to Earth orbit) and with the Saturn V booster (for missions to orbit or land on the moon). The Apollo project comprised 14 launches, plus an additional three launches of Apollo spacecraft in the Skylab project. The Apollo missions are to date the main source of lunar samples. Also see Project Mercury and Project Gemini Missions.

Test Missions

  • Apollo 1, a mission to the test systems integration of the "new" generation of Apollo spacecraft. The mission was lost due to a fire caused by velcro in an over-pressurized pure Oxygen environment (20 lbs/in.2), resulting in the loss of the three-astronaut crew, Command Pilot Gus Grissom, Senior Pilot Ed White, and Pilot Roger Chaffee. Cf. Grady Woodard's essay, A Day To Remember - The Apollo Fire.
  • The numbers Apollo 2 and 3 were not used. The spacecraft which would have flown these missions were used as test items in the redesign of the Apollo spacecraft following the Apollo 1 fire.
  • Apollo 4 was the first flight of the Saturn V.
  • Apollo 5 was the first flight of the Apollo Lunar Module.
  • Apollo 6 was the final unmanned test launch of the Saturn V.
  • Apollo 7 was the first launch of the Apollo spacecraft, testing the Command and Service Module spacecraft in Earth orbit.
  • Apollo 8 was the first mission in which humans orbited the moon. The mission test launched the Saturn-V booster and the Command Service Module.
  • Apollo 9 was the first mission to test the Lunar Module in Earth orbit.
  • Apollo 10 was the first mission tested the Lunar Module (as well as the Command and Service Modules) in orbit around the moon without landing.

Operational Missions

  • Apollo 11 was the first mission to land humans (Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin) on the moon in Mare Tranquilitatis (The Sea of Tranquility), on July 20, 1969. Commander Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon. The crew for this mission was Commander Neil Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins.
  • Apollo 12 landed in Oceanus Procellarum (The Ocean of Storms), on November 14, 1969. The crew for this mission was Commander Pete Conrad, Lunar Module Pilot Al Bean, and Command Module Pilot Richard Gordon.
  • Apollo 13 did not land on the moon due to an Oxygen tank explosion, which occurred due to a damaged wire inside the oxygen tank. The mission was launched on April 11, 1970 and landed on Earth on April 17, 1970. The crew shut down the Command Module and transferred into the Lunar Module, and successfully returned home by using the moon for a gravity assist under minimal power using the Lunar Module as a lifeboat prior to re-entry inside the re-activated Command Module. The crew for this mission was Commander Jim Lovell, Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise, and Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert.
  • Apollo 14 landed at Fra Mauro, about 100 miles East of the Apollo 12 site, on February 5, 1971. The crew for this mission was Commander Alan Shepard, Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell, and Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa.
  • Apollo 15 landed near Hadley Rille, on August 7, 1971. This mission is significant in that it is the first to use a lunar rover, which increased their range, and the first to focus on geology field research (the best samples were gathered during the Apollo 15-17 missions). This mission is significant for the crew's discovery of an anorthositic rock that is thought to have been leftover from the original crust of the moon (named the Genesis Rock). The crew for this mission was Commander David Scott, Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin, and Command Module Pilot Al Worden.
  • Apollo 16 landed in the Descartes Highlands, on April 21, 1972. The crew for this mission was Commander John Young, Lunar Pilot Charles Duke, and Command Module Pilot Ken Mattingly.
  • Apollo 17 landed in the Taurus_Littrow Lunar Highlands, on December 11, 1972. This mission is significant in that it is both the first and only mission to have a professional geologist (Schmitt), and that it is the last of the Apollo missions. Schmitt discovered orange "soil", minerals that were formed by the process of volcanic glassification. The crew for this mission was Commander Eugene Cernan, Lunar Module Pilot Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, and Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans.

Apollo Applications Program

Apollo spacecraft were used in three missions to the Skylab space station in Earth orbit and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP). The Apollo-Soyuz missions were designed to use up surplus resources and to generate goodwill with the USSR. It was a symbolic show of "good sportsmanship" and détente to ease the tensions between the two countries during the Space Race. The Apollo crew were astronauts Commander Thomas Stafford, Command Module Pilot Vance Brand, and Docking Module Pilot Donald "Deke" Slayton. The Soyuz crew were cosmonauts Commander Aleksei Leonov and Flight Engineer Valeri Kubasov.


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