Astronomy

Apollo Missions



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Apollo is one of the most famous names in the history of spaceflight, from 1963 to 1972 the Apollo program was built to carry the Saturn satellites on their journey into deep space and later focused to aim landing people on the moon, exploring the lunar surface. Six of the missions successfully fulfilled their goals and inspired the world.

The first missions from 1963 were unmanned testing satellite and potential exploration components. Tragically Apollo 1 malfunctioned on the launch pad killing all three Astronauts; Apollo 4 was the first mission to use Saturn V rockets and the first lunar module was tested by Apollo 5.

In 1968 the last unmanned shuttle, Apollo 6 blasted off for a final test flight; after this the moon became the final destination.

Each rocket contains two sections once it reaches outer space, a command module and lunar modular; the command module stays in orbit with one crew member while the lunar module and the other two crew members land on the surface of the moon.

Apollo 7 in 1968 became the first crewed mission; for eleven days they orbited the Earth testing the modules for longer journeys. Apollo’s 8, 9 and 10 reached lunar orbit before returning to Earth.

Apollo eleven was the first mission to land on the moon in 1969 with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins. Thousands watched a grainy image on television as Neil Armstrong took the first steps onto the moon.

Five other missions, Apollo’s 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, all between 1969 to 1972 arrived at our moon retrieving countless data and more than 400 kilograms of samples. Apollo 15 contained the first rover vehicle to travel over alien surfaces and Apollo 17 was the only mission to take a professional geologist.

Apollo 13 in 1970 famously malfunctioned on route when an oxygen tank exploded, it is now immortalised in film with the actor Tom Hanks; it successfully took photographs before making an emergency landing.   This flight highlighted the risks to human life in space and aided the cancellation of the program.

Eagle, Intrepid, Aquarius, Antares, Falon, Orion and Challenger changed our understanding of the lunar space above our planet. NASA’s plan was to continue missions up to number twenty but within a year of Neil Armstrong’s success the last three missions were scrapped due to budget and confidence; the space race was over and Apollo’s legacy is written in history.

Alan Shephard was the sole astronaut on Apollo 14 and the first person to play golf on the moon.

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