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NASA Apollo Missions

 

 

The Apollo program included a large number of uncrewed test missions and 12 crewed missions: three Earth orbiting missions (Apollo 7, 9 and Apollo-Soyuz), two lunar orbiting missions (Apollo 8 and 10), a lunar swingby (Apollo 13), and six Moon landing missions (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17). Two astronauts from each of these six missions walked on the Moon (Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, Charles Conrad, Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, David Scott, James Irwin, John Young, Charles Duke, Gene Cernan, and Harrison Schmitt), the only humans to have set foot on another solar system body. Total funding for the Apollo program was approximately $20,443,600,000.

This graphic shows the approximate locations of the Apollo moon landing sites.
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

 

Lunar Missions

Mission Country Date Objectives Results
Pioneer 1 U.S.A. Oct 1958 lunar orbit did not obtain lunar trajectory, reentered on 10/12/58
Pioneer 2 U.S.A. Nov 1958 lunar orbit did not achieve orbit
Pioneer 3 U.S.A. Dec 1958 lunar probe launch failure, reentered on 12/7/58
Luna 1 U.S.S.R. Jan 1959 lunar impact first lunar flyby, failed to impact
Pioneer 4 U.S.A. Mar 1959 lunar probe passed within 37,300 mi. of the moon
Luna 2 U.S.S.R. Sept 1959 lunar impact first lunar impact, impacted east of the Sea of Serenity area
Luna 3 U.S.S.R. Oct 1959 lunar probe first photographs of the lunar farside
Pioneer P-3 U.S.A. Nov 1959 lunar orbit launch failure, did not achieve orbit
Ranger 1 U.S.A. Aug 1961 lunar probe launch failure, did not escape Earth orbit, reentered on 8/30/61
Ranger 2 U.S.A. Nov 1961 lunar probe launch failure, did not escape Earth orbit, reentered on 11/20/61
Ranger 3 U.S.A. Jan 1962 lunar landing launch failure, missed the moon by 22,862 mi.
Ranger 4 U.S.A. Apr 1962 lunar landing computer failed, no telemetry received, crashed on the lunar farside
Ranger 5 U.S.A. Oct 1962 lunar landing missed the moon by 450 mi.
Sputnik 25 U.S.S.R. Jan 1963 lunar probe unsuccessful lunar attempt
Luna 4 U.S.S.R. Apr 1963 lunar orbiter contact lost, missed the moon
Ranger 6 U.S.A. Jan / Feb 1964 lunar photography cameras failed, no data returned, impacted in the Sea of Tranquillity area
Ranger 7 U.S.A. Jul 1964 lunar photography transmitted first close-up photos of the moon, impacted in the Sea of Clouds area
Ranger 8 U.S.A. Feb 1965 lunar photography transmitted high-quality photos of the moon, impacted in the Sea of Tranquillity area
Ranger 9 U.S.A. Mar 1965 lunar photography transmitted high-quality photos of the moon, impacted in the Crater of Alphonsus
Luna 5 U.S.S.R. May 1965 lunar lander first soft-landing attempt, crashed in the Sea of Clouds area
Luna 6 U.S.S.R. Jun 1965 lunar lander engine failed, missed the moon
Zond 3 U.S.S.R. Jul 1965 lunar probe photographed lunar farside
Luna 7 U.S.S.R. Oct 1965 lunar lander crashed in the Ocean of Storms area
Luna 8 U.S.S.R. Dec 1965 lunar lander crashed in the Ocean of Storms area
Luna 9 U.S.S.R. Jan / Feb 1966 lunar lander first lunar soft landing, first TV transmission from lunar surface, landed on in the Ocean of Storms area
Cosmos 111 U.S.S.R. Mar 1966 lunar probe unsuccessful lunar attempt
Luna 10 U.S.S.R. Mar 1966 lunar orbiter first lunar satellite, studied lunar surface radiation and magnetic field intensity, monitored strength and variation of lunar gravitation
Surveyor 1 U.S.A. May / Jun 1966 lunar lander first soft-landed robotic laboratory, landed in the Ocean of Storms area, returned high-quality images & selenological data
Lunar Orbiter 1 U.S.A. Aug 1966 lunar orbiter photographed over 2 million square miles of the MoonUs surface, impacted on the lunar far side on 10/29/66
Luna 11 U.S.S.R. Aug 1966 lunar orbiter lunar satellite
Surveyor 2 U.S.A Sept 1966 lunar lander crashed near the Crater Copernicus
Luna 12 U.S.S.R. Oct 1966 lunar orbiter lunar satellite, transmitted large-scale pictures of the Sea of Rains and the Crater Aristarchus, tested electric motor for lunokhod's wheels
Lunar Orbiter 2 U.S.A. Nov 1966 lunar orbiter lunar satellite, photographed landing sites, impacted on Moon on 10/11/67
Luna 13 U.S.S.R. Dec 1966 lunar lander soft landed in the Ocean of Storms area, measured soil density and surface radioactivity
Lunar Orbiter 3 U.S.A. Feb 1967 lunar orbiter lunar satellite, photographed landing sites, provided gravitational field and lunar environment data, impacted on moon on 10/9/67
Surveyor 3 U.S.A. Apr 1967 lunar lander soft-landed robotic laboratory, landed in the Ocean of Storms area, returned photographs and data on a soil sample
Lunar Orbiter 4 U.S.A. May 1967 lunar orbiter lunar satellite, provided the first pictures of the lunar south pole, impacted on the moon on 10/6/67
Surveyor 4 U.S.A. Jul 1967 lunar lander radio contact lost 2 1/2 min. prior to landing, impacted in Sinus Medii area
Explorer 35 U.S.A. Jul 1967 lunar orbiter (Interplanetary Monitoring Platform 6) designed to use the moon as an anchor for probing interplanetary magnetic fields, plasma, and meteoroid fluxes
Lunar Orbiter 5 U.S.A. Aug 1967 lunar orbiter lunar satellite, impacted on moon on 1/31/68
Surveyor 5 U.S.A Sept 1967 lunar lander soft-landed robotic laboratory, soft-landed in the Sea of Tranquillity
Surveyor 6 U.S.A. Nov 1967 lunar lander soft-landed robotic laboratory, soft-landed in the Sinus Medii area
Surveyor 7 U.S.A. Jan 1968 lunar lander soft-landed robotic laboratory, landed near the crater Tycho
Luna 14 U.S.S.R. Apr 1968 lunar orbiter lunar satellite, studied gravitational field
Zond 5 U.S.S.R. Sept 1968 circumlunar first lunar flyby and Earth return, returned to Earth on 9/21/68
Zond 6 U.S.S.R. Nov 1968 circumlunar lunar flyby and Earth return, returned to Earth on 11/17/68

Apollo 8 U.S.A. Dec 1968 piloted lunar orbital flight first humans to orbit the moon (10 orbits)
Apollo 10 U.S.A. May 1969 piloted lunar orbital flight first docking maneuvers in lunar orbit, tested all aspects of a piloted lunar landing
Luna 15 U.S.S.R. Jul 1969 lunar sample return crashed in the Sea of Crises area
Apollo 11 U.S.A. Jul 1969 piloted lunar landing first humans on the moon, landed in the Sea of Tranquillity area on 7/20/69, 2 astronauts deployed experiments and collected lunar samples during lunar EVA
Zond 7 U.S.S.R. Aug 1969 circumlunar lunar flyby and Earth return, returned to Earth on 8/14/69
Cosmos 300 U.S.S.R. Sept 1969 lunar probe unsuccessful lunar attempt, reentered 9/27/69
Cosmos 305 U.S.S.R. Oct 1969 lunar probe unsuccessful lunar attempt, reentered 10/24/69
Luna 16 U.S.S.R. Sept 1970 lunar sample return first robotic sample return, collected lunar samples in the Sea of Fertility area and returned to Earth on 9/24/70
Apollo 12 U.S.A. Nov 1969 piloted lunar landing second group of humans on the moon, landed in the Ocean of Storms area on 11/19/69, 2 astronauts deployed experi-ments, collected lunar samples, and retrieved pieces of the Surveyor 3 spacecraft during lunar EVA
Apollo 13 U.S.A Apr 1970 piloted lunar landing aborted human landing attempt
Zond 8 U.S.S.R. Oct 1970 circumlunar lunar flyby and Earth return, returned to Earth on 10/27/70
Luna 17 U.S.S.R. Nov 1970 lunar rover (Lunokhod 1) first robotic rover, landed in the Sea of Rains area
Apollo 14 U.S.A. Jan / Feb 1971 piloted lunar landing third group of humans on the moon, landed in the Fra Mauro area on 2/5/71, 2 astronauts deployed experiments and collected lunar samples during lunar EVA
Apollo 15 U.S.A. Jul / Aug 1971 piloted lunar landing fourth group of humans on the moon, landed in the Hadley Rille area on 7/30/71, 2 astronauts deployed experiments and collected lunar samples during lunar EVA with lunar roving vehicle
Luna 18 U.S.S.R. Sept 1971 lunar lander crashed in the Sea of Fertility area
Luna 19 U.S.S.R. Sept 1971 lunar orbiter lunar satellite, studied moonUs gravitational field
Luna 20 U.S.S.R. Feb 1972 lunar sample return second robotic sample return, collected samples in the Sea of Crises area and returned to Earth on 2/25/72
Apollo 16 U.S.A. Apr 1972 piloted lunar landing fifth group of humans on the moon, landed in the Descartes area on 4/20/72, 2 astronauts deployed experiments and collected lunar samples during lunar EVA with lunar roving vehicle
Apollo 17 U.S.A. Dec 1972 piloted lunar landing sixth group of humans on the moon, landed in the Taurus-Littrow area on 12/11/72, 2 astronauts deployed experiments and collected lunar samples during lunar EVA with lunar roving vehicle
Luna 21 U.S.S.R. Jan 1973 lunar rover robotic lunar rover, landed near the Sea of Serenity area
Luna 22 U.S.S.R. May/Jun 1974 lunar sample return lunar satellite
Luna 23 U.S.S.R. Oct 1974 lunar sample return landed on the southern part of the Sea of Crises, sampling device malfunctioned, no samples returned
Luna 24 U.S.S.R. Aug 1976 lunar sample return third robotic sample return, collected samples in the Sea of Crises area and returned to Earth
Hiten (Muses-A) Japan Jan 1990 lunar satellite studied gravity's effect on satellites, crashed on the moon on 4/11/93
Clementine U.S.A. Jan 1994 lunar satellite photographed the lunar surface
Lunar Prospector U.S.A. Jan 1998 lunar polar orbiter determined whether water ice exists on the Moon near its poles and mapped the elemental composition of the lunar crust. The controlled crash of the spacecraft into a crater on the Moon on 07/31/99 produced no observable signature of water.
 

The 12 Astronauts That Have Walked on the Moon

Image of Neil Armstrong

Image of Buzz Aldrin

Image of Pete Conrad

Image of Alan Bean

Image of Alan Shepherd Image of Edgar Mitchell
Image of David Scott Image of James Irwin Image of John Young Image of Charles Duke Eugene Cernan Image of Harrison Schmitt

Of the billions and billions of people that have walked on the Earth, only a select 12 have walked on the Moon

Who When How Long
Neil Armstrong 7/20/69 2 hr. 31 min. 40 sec.
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin 7/20/69 2 hr. 31 min. 40 sec.
Charles (Pete) Conrad 11/19/69 7 hr. 45 min. 18 sec.
Alan Bean 11/19/69 7 hr. 45 min. 18 sec.
Alan Shepard 2/5/71 9 hr. 22 min. 31 sec.
Edgar Mitchell 2/5/71 9 hr. 22 min. 31 sec.
James Irwin 7/30/71 18 hr. 34 min. 46 sec.
David Scott 7/30/71 18 hr. 34 min. 46 sec.
Charles Duke 4/21/72 to 4/23/72 20 hr. 14 min. 16 sec.
John Young 4/21/72 to 4/23/72 20 hr. 14 min. 16 sec.
Harrison Schmitt 12/11/72 to 12/13/72 22 hr. 3 min. 57 sec.
Eugene Cernan 12/11/72 to 12/13/72 22 hr. 3 min. 57 sec.

 

Apollo Command and Service Modules

The Apollo mission consisted of a Command Module (CM) and a Lunar Module (LM). The CM and LM would separate after lunar orbit insertion. One crew member would stay in the CM, which would orbit the Moon, while the other two astronauts would take the LM down to the lunar surface. After exploring the surface, setting up experiments, taking pictures, collecting rock samples, etc., the astronauts would return to the CM for the journey back to Earth.

Spacecraft and Subsystems

As the name implies, the Command and Service Module (CSM) was comprised of two distinct units: the Command Module (CM), which housed the crew, spacecraft operations systems, and re-entry equipment, and the Service Module (SM) which carried most of the consumables (oxygen, water, helium, fuel cells, and fuel) and the main propulsion system. The total length of the two modules attached was 11.0 meters with a maximum diameter of 3.9 meters. Block II CSM's were used for all the crewed Apollo missions. The Apollo 11 CSM mass of 28,801 kg was the launch mass including propellants and expendables, of this the Command Module (CM 107) had a mass of 5557 kg and the Service Module (SM 107) 23,244 kg.

Telecommunications included voice, television, data, and tracking and ranging subsystems for communications between astronauts, CM, LM, and Earth. Voice contact was provided by an S-band uplink and downlink system. Tracking was done through a unified S-band transponder. A high gain steerable S-band antenna consisting of four 79-cm diameter parabolic dishes was mounted on a folding boom at the aft end of the SM. Two VHF scimitar antennas were also mounted on the SM. There was also a VHF recovery beacon mounted in the CM. The CSM environmental control system regulated cabin atmosphere, pressure, temperature, carbon dioxide, odors, particles, and ventilation and controlled the temperature range of the electronic equipment.

Command Module

The CM was a conical pressure vessel with a maximum diameter of 3.9 m at its base and a height of 3.65 m. It was made of an aluminum honeycomb sandwhich bonded between sheet aluminum alloy. The base of the CM consisted of a heat shield made of brazed stainless steel honeycomb filled with a phenolic epoxy resin as an ablative material and varied in thickness from 1.8 to 6.9 cm. At the tip of the cone was a hatch and docking assembly designed to mate with the lunar module. The CM was divided into three compartments. The forward compartment in the nose of the cone held the three 25.4 m diameter main parachutes, two 5 m drogue parachutes, and pilot mortar chutes for Earth landing. The aft compartment was situated around the base of the CM and contained propellant tanks, reaction control engines, wiring, and plumbing. The crew compartment comprised most of the volume of the CM, approximately 6.17 cubic meters of space. Three astronaut couches were lined up facing forward in the center of the compartment. A large access hatch was situated above the center couch. A short access tunnel led to the docking hatch in the CM nose. The crew compartment held the controls, displays, navigation equipment and other systems used by the astronauts. The CM had five windows: one in the access hatch, one next to each astronaut in the two outer seats, and two forward-facing rendezvous windows. Five silver/zinc-oxide batteries provided power after the CM and SM detached, three for re-entry and after landing and two for vehicle separation and parachute deployment. The CM had twelve 420 N nitrogen tetroxide/hydrazine reaction control thrusters. The CM provided the re-entry capability at the end of the mission after separation from the Service Module.

Service Module

The SM was a cylinder 3.9 meters in diameter and 7.6 m long which was attached to the back of the CM. The outer skin of the SM was formed of 2.5 cm thick aluminum honeycomb panels. The interior was divided by milled aluminum radial beams into six sections around a central cylinder. At the back of the SM mounted in the central cylinder was a gimbal mounted re-startable hypergolic liquid propellant 91,000 N engine and cone shaped engine nozzle. Attitude control was provided by four identical banks of four 450 N reaction control thrusters each spaced 90 degrees apart around the forward part of the SM. The six sections of the SM held three 31-cell hydrogen oxygen fuel cells which provided 28 volts, two cryogenic oxygen and two cryogenic hydrogen tanks, four tanks for the main propulsion engine, two for fuel and two for oxidizer, and the subsystems the main propulsion unit. Two helium tanks were mounted in the central cylinder. Environmental control radiator panels were spaced around the top of the cylinder and electrical power system radiators near the bottom.

The Saturn V was a rocket NASA built to send people to the moon. (The V in the name is the Roman numeral five.) The Saturn V was a type of rocket called a Heavy Lift Vehicle. That means it was very powerful. It was the most powerful rocket that had ever flown successfully. The Saturn V was used in the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s. It also was used to launch the Skylab space station.

The Saturn V rocket was 111 meters (363 feet) tall, about the height of a 36-story-tall building, and 18 meters (60 feet) taller than the Statue of Liberty. Fully fueled for liftoff, the Saturn V weighed 2.8 million kilograms (6.2 million pounds), the weight of about 400 elephants. The rocket generated 34.5 million newtons (7.6 million pounds) of thrust at launch, creating more power than 85 Hoover Dams. A car that gets 48 kilometers (30 miles) to the gallon could drive around the world around 800 times with the amount of fuel the Saturn V used for a lunar landing mission. It could launch about 118,000 kilograms (130 tons) into Earth orbit. That's about as much weight as 10 school buses. The Saturn V could launch about 43,500 kilograms (50 tons) to the moon. That's about the same as four school buses.

The Saturn V was developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. It was one of three types of Saturn rockets NASA built. Two smaller rockets, the Saturn I (1) and IB (1b), were used to launch humans into Earth orbit. The Saturn V sent them beyond Earth orbit to the moon. The first Saturn V was launched in 1967. It was called Apollo 4. Apollo 6 followed in 1968. Both of these rockets were launched without crews. These launches tested the Saturn V rocket.

The first Saturn V launched with a crew was Apollo 8. On this mission, astronauts orbited the moon but did not land. On Apollo 9, the crew tested the Apollo moon lander by flying it in Earth orbit without landing. On Apollo 10, the Saturn V launched the lunar lander to the moon. The crew tested the lander in space but did not land it on the moon. In 1969, Apollo 11 was the first mission to land astronauts on the moon. Saturn V rockets also made it possible for astronauts to land on the moon on Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17. On Apollo 13, the Saturn V lifted the crew into space, but a problem prevented them from being able to land on the moon. That problem was not with the Saturn V, but with the Apollo spacecraft. The last Saturn V was launched in 1973, without a crew.

 

The Saturn V rockets used for the Apollo missions had three stages. Each stage would burn its engines until it was out of fuel and would then separate from the rocket. The engines on the next stage would fire, and the rocket would continue into space. The first stage had the most powerful engines, since it had the challenging task of lifting the fully fueled rocket off the ground. The first stage lifted the rocket to an altitude of about 68 kilometers (42 miles). The second stage carried it from there almost into orbit. The third stage placed the Apollo spacecraft into Earth orbit and pushed it toward the moon. The first two stages fell into the ocean after separation. The third stage either stayed in space or hit the moon.

 

 

The Saturn V F-1 Engine ignition sequence


A large combustion chamber and bell have an injector plate at the top, through which RP-1 fuel and LOX are injected at high pressure. Above the injector is the LOX dome which also transmits the force of the thrust from the engine to the rocket's structure. A single-shaft turbopump is mounted beside the combustion chamber.

The turbine is at the bottom and is driven by the exhaust gas from burning RP-1 and LOX in a fuel-rich mixture in a gas generator. After powering the turbine, the exhaust gases pass through a heat exchanger, then to a wrap-around exhaust manifold which feeds it into the periphery of the engine bell.

The final task for these hot gases is to cool and protect the nozzle extension from the far hotter exhaust of the main engine itself. Above the turbine, on the same shaft, is the fuel pump with two inlets from the fuel tank and two outlets going, via shut-off valves, to the injector plate. A line from one of these 'feeds' supplies the gas generator with fuel.

Fuel is also used within the engine as a lubricant and as a hydraulic working fluid, though before launch, RJ-1 ramjet fuel is supplied from the ground for this purpose.

At the top of the turbopump shaft is the LOX pump with a single, large inlet in-line with the turboshaft axis. This pump also has two outlet lines, with valves, to feed the injector plate. One line also supplies LOX to the gas generator.

The interior lining of the combustion chamber and engine bell consists of a myriad of pipework through which a large portion of the fuel supply is fed. This cools the chamber and bell structure while also pre-warming the fuel.

Lastly, an igniter, containing a cartridge of hypergolic fluid with burst diaphragms at either end, is in the high pressure fuel circuit and has its own inject point in the combustion chamber. This fluid is triethylboron with 10-15% triethylaluminium.

At T minus 8.9 seconds, a signal from the automatic sequencer fires four pyrotechnic devices. Two of them cause the fuel-rich turbine exhaust gas to ignite when it enters the engine bell. Another begins combustion within the gas generator while the fourth ignites the exhaust from the turbine.

Links are burned away by these igniters to generate an electrical signal to move the start solenoid. The start solenoid directs hydraulic pressure from the ground supply to open the main LOX valves.

LOX begins to flow through the LOX pump, starting it to rotate, then into the combustion chamber. The opening of both LOX valves also causes a valve to allow fuel and LOX into the gas generator, where they ignite and accelerate the turbine.

Fuel and LOX pressures rise as the turbine gains speed. The fuel-rich exhaust from the gas generator ignites in the engine bell to prevent backfiring and burping of the engine. The increasing pressure in the fuel lines opens a valve, the igniter fuel valve, letting fuel pressure reach the hypergol cartridge which promptly ruptures.

Hypergolic fluid, followed by fuel, enters the chamber through its port where it spontaneously ignites on contact with the LOX already in the chamber.

Rising combustion-induced pressure on the injector plate actuates the ignition monitor valve, directing hydraulic fluid to open the main fuel valves. These are the valves in the fuel lines between the turbopump and the injector plate.

The fuel flushes out ethylene glycol which had been preloaded into the cooling pipework around the combustion chamber and nozzle. The heavy load of ethylene glycol mixed with the first injection of fuel slows the build-up of thrust, giving a gentler start.

Fluid pressure through calibrated orifices completes the opening of the fuel valves and fuel enters the combustion chamber where it burns in the already flaming gases. The exact time that the main fuel valves open is sequenced across the five engines to spread the rise in applied force that the structure of the rocket must withstand.

The thrust [rises] during the start-up of each engine. It takes two seconds for full performance to be attained on all engines once the first has begun increasing. The engines are started in a staggered 1-2-2 sequence so that the rocket's structure would be spared a single large load increase, with the centre engine being the first to start.

The outboard engines exhibit a hiccup in their build-up due to the ingestion of helium from the pogo suppression system installed in each one. The centre engine does not have this installed.

As the flow of fuel and LOX rises to maximum, the chamber pressure, and therefore thrust, is monitored to confirm that the required force has been achieved. With the turbopump at full speed, fuel pressure exceeds hydraulic pressure supplied from ground equipment. Check valves switch the engine's hydraulic supply to be fed from the rocket's fuel instead of from the ground.

 

Credit NASA