Last modified on 30 October 2013, at 19:26

Modern History/Space Exploration/Space Race/Apollo Missions

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 1Edit

Apollo 1 - 05.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 4Edit

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 5Edit

First test of Command Module in space.

Apollo 6Edit

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

Apollo 7Edit

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 8Edit

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 9Edit

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 10Edit

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 11Edit

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 12Edit

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 13Edit

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 14Edit

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 15Edit

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 16Edit

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 17Edit

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.