Could the moon really be made of happiness? If not, what is it made of? What is located on the moon and is there really a little man up there? Is there a such thing as aliens? Our attempt to answer all of these questions would be exploration. We do this with the Apollo Program. The purpose of the Apollo program was not only to send American astronauts to the moon and have them return home safely, but it was also to establish the technology to meet other national interests that we have in space. In addition, it was also to achieve outstanding information and experience in space, to carry out a program of scientific exploration of our moon, and to develop man's capability to
There have been many attempts to land on the moon. However, not all attempts have been good. For example, on January 27, 1967, three astronauts by the name of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were performing a launch-pad test for the first mission to the moon when a flash fire occured, killing all three men. Nevertheless, this event was still named Apollo 1 in memory of the men. In addition to this failed mission, Apollo 13 never landed on the moon. During its flight, one of the oxygen tanks exploded. This messed up the spacecraft during the flight. The crew was forced to orbit the moon and return to the Earth without ever actually landing. However, they did get photographs.
As mentioned before, landing on the moon was not the only purpose of the Apollo Program. Gathering useful information was also another reason the Apollo Project was started. Many missions succeeded at doing this, including missions 8 and 10. Both missions tested many different components while they were orbiting the moon. They also returned with photographs of the lunar surface. Apollo 8 was the first mission to actually take humans to and from the moon. In addition, the first pictures taken by humans of the Earth from deep space were taken on Apollo 8. Also, the first live TV coverage of lunar surface was taken during this time. As for Apollo 10, this was a complete staging of the upcoming Apollo 11 mission. This mission never actually landed on the moon. However, it was the second to orbit the moon and was the closest approach to the moon before Apollo 11. Apollo 7 and 9 were only Earth orbiting missions, therefore they did not gather any lunar information.
Now, all of this negativity is no reason to let your hopes and dreams get crushed. Although there were a number of failures within the Apollo Program, there were also quite a few successes. Like Neil Armstrong once said, "That's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind." These successful missions include Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17. Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to actually LAND on the moon. It was on this mission (July 20, 1969 to be exact) that the famous Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step on another planetary body. The astronauts from this mission returned the first samples to Earth. Performing a manned lunar landing and returning safely to Earth paved the way for the Apollo lunar landing missions that followed.
The second manned mission to land upon the moon was Apollo 12. It was planned and executed as a precise landing. The astronauts landed the Lunar Module within walking distance of the Surveyor III spacecraft, which landed on the moon in April 1967. Astronauts examined the effects of long-term exposure to the moon’s environment. Apollo 14 landed in the Fra Mauro region, which was the intended landing site of Apollo 13. Astronauts also collected samples and took photographs. Fun fact- here is when commander Alan Shepard hit two golf balls on the moon. The first flight of the LRV (lunor roving vehicle) was during Apollo 15, the fourth mission to land men on the moon. During the sixth mission, Apollo 16, samples were collected, photographs were taken, and experiments that included the first use of an ultraviolet camera/spectrograph on the moon were conducted. This mission landed in a highlands area, which was not yet explored on the moon. The last Apollo mission to land on the moon was Apollo 17. On this mission was the only trained geologist to walk on the moon's surface: pilot Harrison Schmitt. Astronauts returned to the greatest amount of rock and soil samples on this mission. Eugene Cernan, the commander, still holds the disinction of being the last man to walk on the moon. No humans have visited the moon since December 14, 1972.
Wait just one minute. Did you know there was an Apollo 18? Well, yes there is. The final chapter in the Apollo series of space flights was the ASTP (The Apollo Soyuz Test Project). The intention was to bring together and dock Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft in Earth orbit. Conceived as a joint venture with the Soviet Union in the early 1970s, it was intended to test the compatibility of the docking mechanisms and environmental systems of the two spacecraft and pave the way for future co-operation and joint missions between the USA and the USSR.
THE APOLLO PROGRAM 1963 - 1972
The first space station the United States launched into orbit, and the second space station ever visited by a human crew. America's first experimental space station. Designed for long duration mission, Skylab program objectives were twofold: To prove that humans could live and work in space for extended periods, and to expand our knowledge of solar astronomy well beyond Earth-based observations. Successful in all respects despite early mechanical difficulties, three three-man crews occupied the Skylab workshop for a total of 171 days, 13 hours. It was the site of nearly 300 scientific and technical experiments: medical experiments on humans' adaptability to zero gravity, solar observations, and detailed Earth resources experiments. The empty Skylab spacecraft returned to Earth July 11, 1979 scattering debris over the Indian Ocean and the sparsely settled region of Western Australia.
• APOLLO 7- the only manned Apollo mission launched on a Saturn 1-B rocket and from pad 34 at the Kennedy Space Center. The first manned test of the Command and Service Module. The crew orbited the Earth 163 times and spent 10 days and 20 hours in space.
• APOLLO 9- the first manned flight of all Apollo lunar hardware in Earth orbit. First manned flight of the lunar module. Pilot Russel L. Schweickart performed a 37 minute EVA. (extravehicular activity- any activity done by an astronaut outside of a spacecraft) Human reactions to space and weightlessness were tested in 152 orbits.
For years, many have imagined what “the man on the moon” is like. When in all actuality, there really is no man on the moon but, if there were, Neil Armstrong would be the person to give all details. Armstrong was the first person to walk on those crater- surfaces. He made history for all Americans, as well as for the rest of the world. Here he tells us of his journey and what it was like for him. A journey through space and into the unknown….
At first, when I learned I was to be part of the mission to the moon, I was apprehensive. I mean, no one besides the Russians had even entered into space and we were to go to the moon. Despite these feelings, Apollo 11 became one of the most famous missions into space and I was to be a part of it. But why choose the number “11” as the title of a flight? Some people forget that there were really 17 Apollo missions by NASA. It’s just that, flights 2 through 7 were unmanned and Apollo's 1, 8, 9, and 10, although manned, were designed for testing the spacecraft. Unmanned means that no humans were inside these ships into space. Apollo 1, unfortunately, ended in the death of three astronauts; Virgil Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee during a launchpad fire. The unmanned missions were really just for practice, to insure our safety. And by golly, it worked.
Before I tell you of the actual mission and what it meant to me, I want you to know about some of the brains behind the Apollo program. NASA’s goals, from the beginning, were to land a man on the moon and safely return him home. The Apollo program was conceived originally around the early 1960’s. The Mercury capsule was only designed to fit one person, but NASA intended it to be able to carry three. NASA manager, Abe Silverstein, named “Apollo” after the Greek god of light. Who knew this program would later be called one of the greatest achievements in human history?
Now, back my story. I boarded the “rocket ship” with my pal, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, who orbited above and set off to that big ball of cheese. When we arrived on July 20, 1969, I was astounded to find that it was not made of cheese, but of rock. There was no atmosphere and hardly any gravity at all. We floated in our seats as we approached the moon. Before we even went out onto the moon, we had to place our spacesuits on which had many functions. They allowed us to breathe, communicate, and most importantly, live! Now, most have heard that I was the first to place my feet on the moon, but that is not how it was intended. Buzz was to go out first, but he was having issues with his suit, and being the impatient person that I am, I headed out first. Now back on Earth, my buddies and I had this little band. We had all original songs and tunes and it just so happened I had one of them stuck in my head as I was walking out. As I took the first step on the moon, I belted out a line from the chorus; “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. I didn’t realize it was recorded until my journey back to Earth, but it seemed to make sense so I did not bother to make an excuse for it. Anyways, after we walked around a bit, Buzz decided to place an American flag on the moon as a reminder of our journey there. After we floated around for a little while and collected some samples, we headed back for home, Earth.
Despite this major stamp for human history, one of the next flights, Apollo 13, was not as successful. The ship suffered major damage, but thankfully no humans were harmed. Apollos 14 through17 were made into space, successfully. Go America! Many space exploration trips were attempted, but after number 17, that was it for Apollo. NASA has always got something up their sleeves.
I was recorded in the history books and Michael Jackson stole my moonwalk, but that is okay, we have paved the way for the future!