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The Apollo program, also known as Project Apollo, was the third United States human spaceflight program carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which accomplished landing the first humans on the Moon from 1969 to 1972. During the Apollo 11 mission, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed their Lunar Module (LM) and walked on the lunar surface, while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the Command/Service Module (CSM), and all three landed safely on Earth on July 24. Five subsequent Apollo missions also landed astronauts on the Moon, the last in December 1972. In these six spaceflights, twelve men walked on the Moon.

Apollo ran from 1961 to 1972, with the first manned flight in 1968. It achieved its goal of manned lunar landing, despite the major setback of a 1967 Apollo 1 cabin fire that killed the entire crew during a prelaunch test. After the first landing, sufficient flight hardware remained for nine follow-on landings with a plan for extended lunar geological and astrophysical exploration. Budget cuts forced the cancellation of three of these. Five of the remaining six missions achieved successful landings, but the Apollo 13 landing was prevented by an oxygen tank explosion in transit to the Moon, which damaged the CSM's propulsion and life support. The crew returned to Earth safely by using the Lunar Module as a "lifeboat" for these functions. Apollo used Saturn family rockets as launch vehicles, which were also used for an Apollo Applications Program, which consisted of Skylab, a space station that supported three manned missions in 1973–74, and the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project, a joint Earth orbit mission with the Soviet Union in 1975.

Green triangles indicate locations of Apollo landings on the moon

Apollo set several major human spaceflight milestones. It stands alone in sending manned missions beyond low Earth orbit. Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft to orbit another celestial body, while the final Apollo 17 mission marked the sixth Moon landing and the ninth manned mission beyond low Earth orbit. The program returned 842 pounds (382 kg) of lunar rocks and soil to Earth, greatly contributing to the understanding of the Moon's composition and geological history. The program laid the foundation for NASA's subsequent human spaceflight capability, and funded construction of its Johnson Space Center and Kennedy Space Center. Apollo also spurred advances in many areas of technology incidental to rocketry and manned spaceflight, including avionics, telecommunications, and computers.

The Apollo program used four types of launch vehicles. The Little Joe II, which was used for unmanned suborbital launch escape system development. The Saturn I, which was used for unmanned suborbital and orbital hardware development. The Saturn IB which was used for preparatory unmanned missions, and Apollo 7, the first manned (Earth orbit) mission. Last, the Saturn V which was used for unmanned and manned earth orbit and lunar missions. The Marshall Space Flight Center, which designed the Saturn rockets, referred to the flights as Saturn-Apollo (SA), while Kennedy Space Center referred to the flights as Apollo-Saturn (AS). This is why the unmanned Saturn 1 flights are referred to as SA and the unmanned Saturn 1B are referred to as AS.

Contents

Unmanned missionsEdit

From 1961 to 1968, the Saturn launch vehicles and components of the Apollo spacecraft were tested in unmanned flights.

Some incongruity in the numbering and naming of the first three unmanned Apollo-Saturn (AS), or Apollo flights, is due to the posthumous honorary renaming of the flight which would have been AS-204, to Apollo 1. This manned flight was to have followed the first three unmanned flights. After the fire which killed the AS-204 crew on the pad during a test and training exercise, unmanned Apollo flights resumed to test the Saturn V launch vehicle and the Lunar Module; these were designated Apollo 4, 5 and 6. The first manned Apollo mission was thus Apollo 7. Simple "Apollo" numbers were never assigned to the first three unmanned flights, although renaming AS-201, AS-202 and AS-203 as Apollo 1-A, Apollo 2 and Apollo 3, had been briefly considered.[1]

Mission LV Serial No Launch Date Launch Time Remarks Sources
SA-1 Saturn I

SA-1

27 October 1961 15:06 GMT Test of Saturn I first stage S-I; dummy upper stages carried water [2][3][4]
SA-2 Saturn I

SA-2

25 April 1962 14:00 GMT Dummy upper stages released 22,900 U.S. gallons (86,685 l) of water into upper atmosphere, to investigate effects on radio transmission and changes in local weather conditions [2][3][4]
SA-3 Saturn I

SA-3

16 November 1962 17:45 GMT Repeat of SA-2 mission [2][3][4]
SA-4 Saturn I

SA-4

28 March 1963 20:11 GMT Test premature shutdown of a single S-I engine [2][3][4]
SA-5 Saturn I

SA-5

29 January 1964 16:25 GMT First flight of live second stage; first orbital flight [2][3][4]
AS-101 Saturn I

SA-6

28 May 1964 17:07 GMT Tested first boilerplate Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) for structural integrity [3][4]
AS-102 Saturn I

SA-7

18 September 1964 17:22 GMT Carried first programmable-in-flight computer on the Saturn I vehicle; last launch vehicle development flight. [3][4]
AS-103 Saturn I

SA-9

16 February 1965 14:37 GMT Carried first Pegasus micrometeorite satellite (Pegasus A) in addition to boilerplate CSM [3][4]
AS-104 Saturn I

SA-8

25 May 1965 07:35 GMT Carried Pegasus B and boilerplate CSM [3][4]
AS-105 Saturn I

SA-10

30 July 1965 13:00 GMT Carried Pegasus C and boilerplate CSM [3][4]
AS-201 Saturn IB AS-201 26 February 1966 16:12 GMT First test of Saturn IB. First flight of Block I Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM). After a suborbital flight the command module (CM) landed in the Atlantic Ocean demonstrating the heat shield; however a propellant pressure loss caused premature service module (SM) engine shutdown. [2][3][4]
AS-203 Saturn IB AS-203 5 July 1966 14:53 GMT No Apollo spacecraft carried; successfully verified restartable S-IVB stage design for Saturn V. Additional testing designed to rupture the tank inadvertently destroyed the stage. [2][3][4]
AS-202 Saturn IB AS-202 25 August 1966 17:15 GMT Longer duration suborbital to Pacific Ocean splashdown; CM heat shield tested to higher speed; successful SM firings. [2][3][4]
Apollo 4 Saturn V AS-501 9 November 1967 12:00 GMT First flight of Saturn V rocket; successfully demonstrated S-IVB third stage restart and tested CM heat shield at lunar re-entry speeds. [2][3][4]
Apollo 5 Saturn IB AS-204 22 January 1968 22:48 GMT First flight of Lunar Module; successfully fired descent engine and ascent engine; demonstrated "fire-in-the-hole" landing abort test. [2][3][4]
Apollo 6 Saturn V AS-502 4 April 1968 16:12 GMT Second flight of Saturn V; severe "pogo" vibrations caused two second-stage engines to shut down prematurely, and third stage restart to fail. SM engine used to achieve high-speed re-entry, though less than Apollo 4. NASA identified vibration fixes and declared Saturn V man-rated. [2][3][4]

Launch escape system (LES) testsEdit

From August 1963 to January 1966 a number of tests were conducted for development of the launch escape system (LES). These included simulated pad aborts, which might occur while the Apollo-Saturn space vehicle was still on the launch pad, and flights on the Little Joe II rocket to simulate Mode I aborts which might occur while the vehicle was in the air.

LES pad abort testsEdit

 
Pad Abort Test 2 with boilerplate command module
Mission Launch Date Launch Time Remarks Sources
Pad Abort Test 1 7 November 1963 16:00 GMT LES abort test from launch pad. [3][4]
Pad Abort Test 2 29 June 1965 13:00 GMT LES pad abort test of near Block-I CM. [3][4]

LES tests with the Little Joe II rocketEdit

Mission Launch Date Launch Time Remarks Sources
QTV 28 August 1963 13:05 GMT Little Joe II qualification test. [3][4]
A-001 13 May 1964 13:00 GMT Launch escape system (LES) transonic test, success except for parachute failure. [3][4]
A-002 8 December 1964 15:00 GMT LES maximum altitude, Max-Q abort test. [3][4]
A-003 19 May 1965 13:01 GMT LES canard maximum altitude abort test. [3][4]
A-004 20 January 1966 15:17 GMT LES test of maximum weight, tumbling Block-I CM. [3][4]

Manned Apollo missionsEdit

The Block I Command/Service Module spacecraft did not have capability to fly with the Lunar Module, and the three crew positions were designated Command Pilot, Senior Pilot, and Pilot, based on U.S. Air Force pilot ratings. The Block II spacecraft was designed to fly with the Lunar Module, so the corresponding crew positions were designated Commander, Command Module Pilot, and Lunar Module Pilot regardless of whether a Lunar Module was present or not on any mission.

A total of fifteen Saturn V vehicles were ordered (through AS-515), which would have been enough for three more Moon landing missions through Apollo 20. This flight was cancelled around the time of the Apollo 11 first landing mission, to make the launch vehicle available for the Skylab space station. Shortly thereafter, Apollo 18 and 19 were cancelled in response to Congressional cuts in NASA's budget.

Several of the missions involved extravehicular activity (EVA), "space walks" or "Moon walks" outside of the spacecraft. These were of three types: testing the lunar EVA suit in Earth orbit (Apollo 9), exploring the lunar surface, and retrieving film canisters from the Scientific Instrument Module stored in the Service Module.

Mission Patch Launch date Crew Launch Vehicle[a] CM Name LM Name Duration Notes Sources
Apollo 1
21 February 1967 (planned) Gus Grissom
Edward H. White II
Roger B. Chaffee
Saturn IB
(AS-204)
N/A N/A N/A Never launched; 27 January 1967 fire in command module during a launch pad test killed crew and destroyed the module [2][5][6][4][7]
Apollo 7
11 October 1968
15:02 GMT
Wally Schirra
Donn F. Eisele
Walter Cunningham
Saturn IB
(AS-205)
N/A N/A 10d 20h
09m 03s
Test flight of Block II CSM in Earth orbit; included first live TV broadcast from American spacecraft. [2][4][8][9][10]
Apollo 8
21 December 1968

12:51 GMT

Frank Borman
James Lovell
William Anders
Saturn V

(AS-503)

N/A N/A 06d 03h

00m 42s

Circumlunar flight of CSM; first manned flight of Saturn V. Ten lunar orbits in 20 hours. [2][4][11][12][13]
Apollo 9
3 March 1969

16:00 GMT

James McDivitt
David Scott
Rusty Schweickart
Saturn V

(AS-504)

Gumdrop Spider 10d 01h

00m 54s

First manned flight test of Lunar Module: propulsion, rendezvous and docking. EVA tested the Portable Life Support System (PLSS). [2][14][15][4][16]
Apollo 10
18 May 1969

16:49 GMT

Thomas P. Stafford
John Young
Eugene Cernan
Saturn V

(AS-505)

Charlie Brown Snoopy 08d 00h

03m 23s

"Dress rehearsal" for lunar landing: LM descended to 8.4 nautical miles (15.6 km) from lunar surface. [2][17][18][4][19]
Apollo 11
16 July 1969

13:32 GMT

Neil Armstrong
Michael Collins
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin
Saturn V

(AS-506)

Columbia Eagle 08d 03h
18m 35s
First manned landing in Sea of Tranquility; single surface EVA [2][20][4][21]
Apollo 12
14 November 1969

16:22 GMT

Charles (Pete) Conrad
Richard F. Gordon, Jr.
Alan Bean
Saturn V

(AS-507)

Yankee Clipper Intrepid 10d 04h
36m 24s
First precise Moon landing in Ocean of Storms near Surveyor 3 probe. Two surface EVAs; returned parts of Surveyor to Earth [2][22][4][23]
Apollo 13
11 April 1970

19:13 GMT

James Lovell
Jack Swigert
Fred Haise
Saturn V

(AS-508)

Odyssey Aquarius 05d 22h
54m 41s
Intended Fra Mauro landing cancelled after SM oxygen tank exploded. LM used as "lifeboat" for safe crew return. First S-IVB stage impact on Moon for active seismic test. [2][24][4][25]
Apollo 14
31 January 1971

21:03 GMT

Alan Shepard
Stuart Roosa
Edgar Mitchell
Saturn V

(AS-509)

Kitty Hawk Antares 09d 00h
01m 58s
Successful Fra Mauro landing. First color TV images from lunar surface; first materials science experiments in space; two surface EVAs. [2][26][4][27]
Apollo 15
26 July 1971

13:34 GMT

David Scott
Alfred Worden
James Irwin
Saturn V

(AS-510)

Endeavour Falcon 12d 07h
11m 53s
Landing at Hadley–Apennine; first Extended LM, 3-day lunar stay. First use of Lunar Roving Vehicle; 3 lunar surface EVAs; deep space EVA on return to retrieve orbital camera film from SM. [2][28][4][29]
Apollo 16
16 April 1972

17:54 GMT

John Young
Ken Mattingly
Charles Duke
Saturn V

(AS-511)

Casper Orion 11d 01h
51m 05s
Landing in Descartes Highlands; 3 lunar EVAs and deep space EVA. [2][30][4][31]
Apollo 17
7 December 1972

05:33 GMT

Eugene Cernan
Ronald Evans
Harrison Schmitt
Saturn V

(AS-512)

America Challenger 12d 13h
51m 59s
Landing at Taurus–Littrow. First professional geologist on the Moon; first night launch; 3 lunar EVAs and deep space EVA. [2][3][32][4]

Cancelled missionsEdit

Several planned missions of the Apollo program of the 1960s and 1970s were canceled for a variety of reasons, including changes in technical direction, the Apollo 1 fire, hardware delays, and budget limitations.

Mission name/designation Commander CM Pilot LM Pilot Mission date Date of cancellation
AS-205 Schirra Eisele Cunningham August 1967 December 22, 1966
Deemed unnecessary.
Apollo 18 Gordon Brand Schmitt February 1972 2 September 1970
Budget cuts
Apollo 19 Haise Pogue Carr July 1972 2 September 1970
Budget cuts
Apollo 20 Conrad or Roosa Weitz Lousma December 1972 to February 1973 4 January 1970
Launch vehicle needed to launch Skylab

Post-Apollo missions using Apollo hardwareEdit

There were several missions that used Apollo hardware after the cancellation of Apollo 18, Apollo 19, and Apollo 20.

Order Launch
Date
Mission Launch vehicle Commander Pilot Science Pilot Duration Notes Sources
1 14 May 1973

17:30 UTC

Skylab 1
Saturn V

(AS-513 minus S-IVB)

N/A N/A N/A N/A Unmanned launch of the Skylab space station. The space station was later crewed by missions Skylab 2, Skylab 3 and Skylab 4. [2]
2 25 May 1973

13:00 GMT

Skylab 2
Saturn IB

(AS-206)

Pete Conrad Paul J. Weitz Joseph P. Kerwin 28d 00h
49m 49s
First crew of the Skylab space station. [2]
3 28 July 1973

11:10 GMT

Skylab 3
Saturn IB

(AS-207)

Alan Bean Jack R. Lousma Owen K. Garriott 59d 11h
09m 34s
Second Skylab crew. Reaction Control System thruster malfunction nearly necessitated a Rescue Mission. [2]
4 16 November 1973

14:01 GMT

Skylab 4
Saturn IB

(AS-208)

Gerald P. Carr William R. Pogue Edward Gibson 84d 01h
15m 31s
Third and final Skylab crew. Penultimate flight of Apollo. [2]
5 15 July 1975

(12:20 GMT)

Apollo–Soyuz Test Project
Saturn IB

(AS-210)

Thomas P. Stafford Vance D. Brand Deke Slayton 09d 01h
28m 
Final flight of both Apollo and the Saturn IB. Rendezvous and docking with Soyuz 19 spacecraft. The inadvertent entry of toxic gases into the cabin atmosphere created a potentially life-threatening health risk to the astronauts during re-entry. [2]

Launch Complex utilizationEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Serial Number displayed in parenthesis

ReferencesEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ http://www.popsci.com/blog-network/vintage-space/what-happened-apollos-2-and-3
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Hallion & Crouch, pp. 153-159
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Apollo 17 Mission Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. March 1973. JSC-07904. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai Apollo Program Summary Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. April 1975. JSC-09423. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  5. ^ "Apollo 1". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "Apollo 1 (AS-204)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum]]. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  7. ^ Garber, Steve (10 September 2015). "Apollo-1 (AS-204)". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  8. ^ Ryba, Jeanne (8 July 2009). "Apollo 7". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "Apollo 7 (AS-205)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  10. ^ Apollo 8 Mission Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. February 1969. MSC-PA-R-69-1. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  11. ^ Ryba, Jeanne (8 July 2009). "Apollo 8". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  12. ^ "Apollo 8 (AS-503)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  13. ^ Apollo 8 Mission Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. February 1969. MSC-PA-R-69-1. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  14. ^ "Apollo 9". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  15. ^ "Apollo 9 (AS-504)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  16. ^ Apollo 9 Mission Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. May 1969. MSC-PA-R-69-2. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  17. ^ "Apollo 10". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  18. ^ "Apollo 10 (AS-505)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  19. ^ Apollo 10 Mission Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. August 1969. MSC-00126. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  20. ^ "Apollo 11 (AS-506)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  21. ^ Apollo 11 Mission Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. November 1969. MSC-00171. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  22. ^ "Apollo 12 (AS-507)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  23. ^ Apollo 12 Mission Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. March 1970. MSC-01855. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  24. ^ "Apollo 13 (AS-508)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  25. ^ Apollo 13 Mission Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. September 1970. MSC-02680. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  26. ^ "Apollo 14 (AS-509)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  27. ^ Apollo 14 Mission Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. May 1971. MSC-04112. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  28. ^ "Apollo 15 (AS-510)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  29. ^ Apollo 15 Mission Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. December 1971. MSC-05161. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  30. ^ "Apollo 16 (AS-511)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  31. ^ Apollo 16 Mission Report (PDF) (Report). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. December 1971. MSC-07230. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  32. ^ "Apollo 17 (AS-512)". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit