Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Green triangles indicate locations of Apollo landings on the moon

The Apollo program included both manned and unmanned space missions, flown by NASA between 1961 and 1975. They culminated with a series of manned Moon landings between 1969 and 1972.


Launch vehiclesEdit

Four Apollo rocket assemblies, drawn to scale: Little Joe II, Saturn I, Saturn IB, and Saturn V.

The Apollo program used four types of launch vehicles:

  • Little Joe II – unmanned suborbital launch escape system development.
  • Saturn I – unmanned suborbital and orbital hardware development.
  • Saturn IB – preparatory unmanned missions, and Apollo 7, the first manned (Earth orbit) mission.
  • Saturn V – 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. Dates given below are dates of launch.

Unmanned missionsEdit

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

Saturn IEdit

Mission LV serial no. Launch date Launch time Remarks
SA-1 SA-1 27 October 1961 15:06 GMT Test of Saturn I first stage S-I; dummy upper stages carried water
SA-2 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
SA-3 SA-3 16 November 1962 17:45 GMT Repeat of SA-2 mission
SA-4 SA-4 28 March 1963 20:11 GMT Test premature shutdown of a single S-I engine
SA-5 SA-5 29 January 1964 16:25 GMT First flight of live second stage; first orbital flight
AS-101 SA-6 28 May 1964 17:07 GMT Tested first boilerplate Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) for structural integrity
AS-102 SA-7 18 September 1964 17:22 GMT Carried first programmable-in-flight computer on the Saturn I vehicle; last launch vehicle development flight.
AS-103 SA-9 16 February 1965 14:37 GMT Carried first Pegasus micrometeorite satellite (Pegasus A) in addition to boilerplate CSM
AS-104 SA-8 25 May 1965 07:35 GMT Carried Pegasus B and boilerplate CSM
AS-105 SA-10 30 July 1965 13:00 GMT Carried Pegasus C and boilerplate CSM

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

LES tests with the Little Joe II rocketEdit

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

Unmanned Apollo-Saturn IB and Saturn VEdit

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 Launch vehicle
serial no.
Launch date Launch time Results
AS-201 Saturn IB AS-201 26 Feb 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.
AS-203 Saturn IB AS-203 5 Jul 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.
AS-202 Saturn IB AS-202 25 Aug 1966 17:15 GMT Longer duration suborbital to Pacific Ocean splashdown; CM heat shield tested to higher speed; successful SM firings.
Apollo 4 Saturn V AS-501 9 Nov 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.
Apollo 5 Saturn IB AS-204 22 Jan 1968 22:48 GMT First flight of Lunar Module; successfully fired descent engine and ascent engine; demonstrated "fire-in-the-hole" landing abort test.
Apollo 6 Saturn V AS-502 4 Apr 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.

Manned Apollo missionsEdit

Block I crew positions for Apollo 1 were designated Command Pilot, Senior Pilot, and Pilot. Corresponding Block II positions were designated Commander, Command Module Pilot, and Lunar Module Pilot (regardless of whether or not a Lunar Module was present on the 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 during the first Apollo 11 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 Rocket LV serial no. Commander Sr Pilot/ CM Pilot Pilot/ LM Pilot CM name LM name Launch date Launch time Duration
Apollo 1 (AS-204)
Saturn IB AS-204 Grissom White Chaffee N/A No LM 21 February 1967 (Planned) N/A N/A
Never launched. On 27 January 1967, a fire erupted in the Apollo command module during a test on the launch pad, destroying the module and killing astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee. The Saturn 1B launch vehicle, serial number AS-204, was undamaged and later used for the Apollo 5 mission.
Apollo 7
Saturn IB AS-205 Schirra Eisele Cunningham N/A No LM 11 October 1968 15:02 GMT 10d 20h
09m 03s
A test flight of the Block II CSM in Earth orbit, Apollo 7 was the first manned Apollo flight and the first manned flight of the Saturn IB. It was the only manned Apollo launch not from LC 39. It included the first live TV broadcast from an American spacecraft.
Apollo 8
Saturn V AS-503 Borman Lovell Anders N/A No LM 21 December 1968 12:51 GMT 06d 03h
00m 42s
Apollo 8 was the first manned circumlunar flight of the CSM (10 orbits in 20 hours) and the first manned flight of the Saturn V. The crew were the first humans to see the far side of the Moon and earth rise over the lunar horizon with their own eyes. Live television pictures were broadcast to Earth.
Apollo 9
Saturn V AS-504 McDivitt Scott Schweickart Gumdrop Spider 3 March 1969 16:00 GMT 10d 01h
00m 54s
During 10 days in Earth orbit, Apollo 9 conducted the first manned flight test of the Lunar Module, demonstrating its propulsion and ability to rendezvous and dock with the CSM. An EVA tested the Portable Life Support System (PLSS).
Apollo 10
Saturn V AS-505 Stafford Young Cernan Charlie Brown Snoopy 18 May 1969 16:49 GMT 08d 00h
03m 23s
In this "dress rehearsal" for the lunar landing, Apollo 10's Lunar Module was flown manned around the Moon and descended to 8.4 nautical miles (15.6 km) without landing.
Apollo 11
Saturn V AS-506 Armstrong Collins Aldrin Columbia Eagle 16 July 1969 13:32 GMT 08d 03h
18m 35s
On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module performed the first manned landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility, overcoming navigation errors and computer alarms. Astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin performed a single EVA in the direct vicinity of the LM.
Apollo 12
Saturn V AS-507 Conrad Gordon Bean Yankee Clipper Intrepid 14 November 1969 16:22 GMT 10d 04h
36m 24s
Following two lightning strikes on the spacecraft during launch, with brief loss of fuel cells and telemetry, Apollo 12 performed the first precise manned landing on the Moon in the Ocean of Storms near the Surveyor 3 probe. In two EVAs, the astronauts recovered portions of Surveyor and returned them to Earth. First controlled LM ascent stage impact after jettison; first use of deployable S-band antenna; lunar TV camera damaged by accidental exposure to sun.
Apollo 13
Saturn V AS-508 Lovell Swigert Haise Odyssey Aquarius 11 April 1970 19:13 GMT 05d 22h
54m 41s
Intended to land at Fra Mauro, Apollo 13's mission was aborted after an SM oxygen tank exploded on the trip to the Moon, causing the landing to be cancelled. The LM was used as crew "lifeboat" for a single loop around the Moon and safe return to Earth. First S-IVB stage impact on Moon as active seismic test.
Apollo 14
Saturn V AS-509 Shepard Roosa Mitchell Kitty Hawk Antares 31 January 1971 21:03 GMT 09d 00h
01m 58s
After docking problems, a faulty LM abort switch and delayed landing radar acquisition, Apollo 14's LM landed successfully at Fra Mauro. First color video images from the surface of the Moon, first materials science experiments in space, and two EVAs, in one of which Shepard performed a golf shot.
Apollo 15
Saturn V AS-510 Scott Worden Irwin Endeavour Falcon 26 July 1971 13:34 GMT 12d 07h
11m 53s
Apollo 15, landing at Hadley–Apennine was the first "J series" mission with a 3-day lunar stay and extensive geology investigations. First use of the Lunar Roving Vehicle, driving 17.25 miles (27.8 km); 1 lunar "standup" EVA, 3 lunar surface EVAs and deep space EVA on return to retrieve orbital camera film from SM.
Apollo 16
Saturn V AS-511 Young Mattingly Duke Casper Orion 16 April 1972 17:54 GMT 11d 01h
51m 05s
After a malfunction in a backup CSM yaw gimbal servo loop delayed the landing and reduced CSM time in lunar orbit, Apollo 16's LM landed in the Descartes Highlands. No ascent stage deorbit due to malfunction; 3 lunar EVAs and deep space EVA.
Apollo 17
Saturn V AS-512 Cernan Evans Schmitt America Challenger 7 December 1972 05:33 GMT 12d 13h
51m 59s
The final Apollo lunar mission landed at Taurus–Littrow. Schmitt, a geologist, was the first professional scientist to go on a NASA mission. First night launch; 3 lunar EVAs and deep space EVA. As of 2017, the last manned spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit.

Cancelled missionsEdit

Mission name/designation Commander CM Pilot LM Pilot Mission date Date of cancellation
Apollo 2 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

Unmanned missionsEdit

Mission Rocket LV serial no. Launch date Launch time
Skylab 1 Saturn V AS-513 minus S-IVB 14 May 1973 17:30 UTC
Unmanned launch of the Skylab space station. The space station was later crewed by missions Skylab 2, Skylab 3 and Skylab 4.

Manned missionsEdit

Mission Rocket LV serial no. Commander Pilot Science Pilot Launch date Launch time Duration
Skylab 2 Saturn IB AS-206 Conrad Weitz Kerwin 25 May 1973 13:00 GMT 28d 00h
49m 49s
First crew of the Skylab space station.
Skylab 3 Saturn IB AS-207 Bean Lousma Garriott 28 July 1973 11:10 GMT 59d 11h
09m 34s
Second Skylab crew. Reaction Control System thruster malfunction nearly necessitated a Rescue Mission.
Skylab 4 Saturn IB AS-208 Carr Pogue Gibson 16 November 1973 14:01 GMT 84d 01h
15m 31s
Third and final Skylab crew. Penultimate flight of Apollo.
Mission Rocket LV serial no. Commander CM Pilot Docking Module Pilot Launch date Launch time Duration
Apollo–Soyuz Test Project Saturn IB AS-210 Stafford Brand Slayton 15 July 1975 12:20 GMT 09d 01h
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.

Launch Complex utilizationEdit


External linksEdit