Apollo Missions to the Moon

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The Apollo program aimed at landing the first man on the moon. The programs were bound to face daunting tasks as scientists were required to construct a rocket craft powerful enough to reach the moon and a spaceship to come back to earth. The Saturn V Rocket, the spacecraft and the Lunar Module (LM) were the spaceships used for Apollo missions. The spacecraft was a conjunction of the Service and Command Module (CSM) The Apollo program included both unmanned missions and manned missions. The Apollo program was divided into unmanned Apollo missions and manned Apollo missions or Saturn flights. The following is a summarized report of the manned Apollo 1 mission to Apollo 17 mission.

Apollo 1 Mission

On the 27th of January 1967 a crew of Edward White II, Grissom Virgil, and Roger Chaffee had boarded the CSM to perform pre-launch activities when suddenly a spark ignited some flammable material causing combustion in the closed compartments. The fire was due to a combination several conditions which resulted in the death of the entire crew. The fire scene led to the enhancement of the CSM and a series of unpiloted missions. The improvement of the CSM appeared successful following the series of unmanned missions 4, 5 and 6 (Lyndon 2-27).

Apollo 7 mission

It was the first human piloted flight test of the Common and Service Module. The 7th mission was launched on the 11th of October and took ten days orbiting around the earth. Crew members Donn Eisle, Walter Shirra and Cunningham Walter trained maneuvers to be used in the lunar missions. The crew successfully re-entered the earth atmosphere and were recovered in the Atlantic Ocean (Lyndon 2-27).

Apollo 8 Mission

The mission was initiated on the 21st December 1998 being the first man piloted mission to accomplish the lunar orbit. A crew that included Frank Borman, William Anders, and James Lovell completed successfully the test 60 day mission test for lunar missions. It was a test for the CSM flight profile enabling a ten revolution flight around the moon on the 24th of December 1963. The crew then successfully re-entered the earth atmosphere and were recovered in the Pacific Ocean (Lyndon 2-29).

Apollo 9 mission

It is in this mission that a successful lunar landing mission was achieved using the LM, CSM, and EMU. The test crew included Russell Schweickart, McDivit James, and David Scott. The Spider (LM) and Gumdrop (CSM), first Apollo spacecraft, were successfully commenced into the earths orbit. This mission demonstrated all the maneuvers of the Apollo Mission. The crew achieved the first LM rendezvous with the Command Module. They managed to perform the EVA crew exchange from LM to CSM, and backup safety maneuvers which later helped in the recovery of Apollo 13 (Lyndon 2-32).

Apollo 10 mission

The mission was a cover rehearsal for the planetary landing. The mission was carried in the lunar orbit but did not include an actual landing. A spacecraft crew of Snoopy in the LM and Charlie Brown in the CSM performed 31 revolutions around the lunar orbit in 2 days. Another crew of Eugene Cernan, John Young, and Thomas Stafford succeeded in lunar landing propulsive maneuvers. The mission was only less than two months prior to the actual lunar landing mission (Lyndon 2-34).

Apollo 11 mission

It was termed one small step for man... since it was the first successful lunar landing mission. The mission was launched the 16th of July 1969 with a crew of Michael Collins, Edwin Aldrin and Neil Armstrong flying the Eagle (LM) and Columbia (CSM). Aldrin and Armstrong managed to land the Eagle on the moon surface. The eagle stayed on the lunar surface for 21 hours and 36mins as the crew spent two hours and thirty minutes outside the LM. Armstrong and Aldrin erected a scientific station after evaluating its working capability then collected 21kg of soil and rocks. The Eagle ascended back to reunite with Columbia and departed to the earths atmosphere. The crew was recovered in the Pacific Ocean after an eight-day mission and then quarantined for fourteen days for safety measures (Lyndon 2-36).

Apollo 12 Mission

The Apollo 12 was the first pinpoint moon landing assignment and the second lunar landing task. It was launched on November 14, 1996, with a crew Richard Gordon, Peter Conrad and Alan LaVern flying Yankee Clipper and Intrepid. The LM landed on the southeastern end of the moon. They spent 31 and half hours on the moon. They were also able to traverse up to 470m from the landing point by use of the intrepid craft excursing Surveyor 3 lunar probe. The crew then moved to ALSEP station collecting stones and soil samples. They left lunar in four days of arrival completing a 10-day successful mission (Lyndon 2-38).

Apollo 13 Mission

A third lunar landing mission was launched on the 11th of April, 1970 with a crew including John Swigert, James Lovell and Fred Wallace flying the Odyssey and Aquarius. However, on the second day of landing, an explosion took place rendering the CSM incapable of performing abort maneuvers back to the earth surface. The crew moved to the LM and preserved the functioning parts of the CSM for safe earth re-entry. The return journey was strenuous including freezing, and excessive CO2 in the LM. Fortunately, Apollo 13 landed safely in the Pacific Ocean (Lyndon 2-39).

Apollo 14 Mission

The mission was launched at the end of January 1971. A crew of Stuart Rosa, Alan Shepard, and Edgar Mitchelle flew the Kitty Hawk and Antares landing on the hilly side of Fra Mauro Center. The crew used a Mobile Equipment Transporter to traverse 1400m from the landing point. They collected lunar rocks and soil and ended the nine-day mission by landing in the Pacific Ocean (Lyndon 2-41).

Apollo 15, to 17 Missions

The three missions were majorly for scientific exploration and research. The mission involved highly trained crews, mobile suits, improved duration PLSS and the LRV. Launched between July 1971 and December 1972 the crew made extensive Geological researches and collected stones and soil samples. All the three missions were successful with safe landings in the Pacific Ocean (Lyndon 2-45-2-51).

The Apollo mission was a demonstration of how effective human geological explorations can be in hostile environments. Man was able to extend his stay in this hostile environment and could carry out scientific research on its surface for a some days (Delehanty). The last three missions also included photographic taking and detailed data recording of major moon features and characteristics.

Works Cited

Delehanty, Marc. "Apollo Missions to the Moon." Apollo Missions to the Moon. Astronomy Today, n.d. Web. 05 May 2016.

Lyndon, Johnson, B. Apollo Program Summary Report. Houston, TX: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, 1975. Print. http://history.nasa.gov/alsj/APSR-JSC-09423.pdf

 

 

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