The Apollo Mission Statement

apollo mission statement

The Apollo program was an initiative of NASA that saw humans land on the Moon for the first time. Twelve astronauts made this historic journey; six walked its surface.

President John F. Kennedy issued a challenge in 1961 for the nation to put a man on the Moon by the end of this decade. Through this interactive presentation, learn about its successes and setbacks.

The goal of the Apollo program was to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth.

One lesson from the Apollo moon program is its emphasis on having a compelling vision. President John F. Kennedy articulated this in a speech to Congress calling for sending men to land on the Moon within 10 years; though initially considered impossible at first, NASA and its astronauts ultimately achieved this goal with incredible effort; the mission has proven highly successful and its legacy lives on today.

The Apollo spacecraft consisted of three main parts: The command module (CM), which contained crew quarters and flight control systems; the service module, which provided propulsion and support systems; and the lunar module, which could transport two astronauts safely to the Moon, land them safely on its surface, and return them safely back into lunar orbit before returning back into lunar orbit again. Additionally, this LM was fitted with landing gear as well as a rover which could traverse its surface.

NASA first began sending humans on Apollo missions in 1968. Apollo 7 marked the first successful voyage beyond low Earth orbit and provided live television broadcast from a piloted spacecraft. Apollo 8 featured Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders as its crewmembers; these individuals became the first humans to reach near to Moon. On their mission they conducted scientific investigations such as deployment of solar wind composition experiment, seismic experiment package deployment and laser ranging retroreflector deployment – among many other scientific investigations conducted during their voyage.

During their mission, NASA astronauts captured images of the lunar surface and their rover that were relayed back to Houston’s Mission Control Center for analysis. They collected samples of lunar material as well as deployed a television camera that broadcast their experiences back home; additionally they took portraits of each other while photographing surroundings inside an LM that returned back into lunar orbit and returned directly back into NASA control.

On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human ever to step foot onto the Moon when Apollo 11 touched down on its inaugural lunar landing, with its legendary slogan being broadcast worldwide to over 530 million viewers. There would later be five further lunar landings before Apollo 17’s final mission on December 14, 1972.

The mission was successful.

President Kennedy set a national goal eight years earlier for Apollo 11, with its successful lunar landing and return. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin successfully performed this goal for all 530 million viewers worldwide who watched live television coverage of this spectacular momentous occasion.

However, astronauts weren’t just there for sightseeing: their mission included conducting experiments and gathering samples of Moon rock and soil. For instance, Astronaut David Scott conducted a test that confirmed Galileo’s hypothesis that objects in space fall at equal rates regardless of mass; when dropping a geological hammer and feather onto a platform below him both dropped at once to prove this theory.

Apollo 13 faced its return challenge head on, meeting it head on through innovation and perseverance. When an oxygen tank’s switch and insulation were accidentally damaged, which prevented its shut-down, it left astronauts without enough oxygen to breathe or produce power, leaving only enough to last three hours before they transferred into LEMs with engines designed by University of Minnesota alumnus Gerard Elverum Jr. which allowed for increased or decreased output control by astronauts themselves.

To return to lunar orbit, the astronauts employed one of the LEM’s two propulsion systems for repositioning maneuvers before switching engines for return back to CSM – docking on 27th revolution 128 hours 3 minutes into mission.

Three days later, they were safely retrieved by the USS Hornet and returned home safely, where they were doused with disinfectant to make sure no dangerous Moon bugs had hitched a ride home and quarantined for three weeks to ensure there weren’t disease-causing microbes present. Overall, the Apollo program cost approximately $257 billion in 2020 dollars while employing around 400,000 Americans at its peak; they provided 382 kilograms of lunar rocks, core samples, and regolith samples to scientists so they can understand its formation 4.5 billion years ago.

The mission was expensive.

The Apollo project was an ambitious undertaking, both costly and ambitious. President Kennedy stood before Congress to advocate for funding of this ambitious endeavor and laid out his vision of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely back home – showing America could outdo even its Soviet competitors in space, using this dramatic goal as motivation to unify all Americans in working toward its accomplishment.

This program cost over 20 billion dollars when adjusted for inflation; today it would likely be even higher. As the largest research and development project ever seen in peacetime history, employing over 400,000 workers at its peak across America, it had an enormous effect on national politics, sparking political disputes over spending priorities.

NASA had no idea of the cost involved with sending humans into space when the project first started, so several uncrewed tests were performed to ascertain its performance – then came Apollo 7, the inaugural crewed mission that successfully sent astronauts Wally Schirra, Don Eisele and Walt Cunningham into orbit for orbital test flights – but this mission also revealed some challenges associated with human space travel.

Apollo 13’s crew had completed seven successful missions before it attempted to land on the Moon; however, due to an explosion on board they decided instead to orbit around it instead of landing there. Their mission proved an overwhelming success, being considered amongst one of the best ever undertaken in space program history.

Costly as it was, this project demonstrated how essential having an inspirational vision can be in motivating people towards working toward one common goal. Convincing Congress and the American public to finance it was made all the easier thanks to such an inspirational vision.

The mission was divisive.

After much anticipation and saturation coverage of Apollo 11’s journey to the Moon in July 1969, Americans were divided in their opinion of it when it finally landed there four weeks later. According to a Harris Poll taken four weeks after landing, only 39% thought the program had been worth its $4 billion annual cost; by comparison, Vietnam war costing nearly 20x that amount and had claimed 17,899 lives by that point.

The lunar landing was only the latest challenge facing an astronaut team that had spent years training, communicating in cramped spacecraft that only provided about as much room as a car interior, and being propelled by a rocket as tall as 36-story buildings with three stages. NASA developed several vehicles specifically tailored for this mission – most notably its command module – with which to accomplish it.

This was where astronauts lived and slept when not conducting scientific research. It was attached to both a Service Module that provided propulsion and spacecraft support systems, and a Lunar Module (LM), capable of transporting two astronauts to the Moon before landing them safely on its surface before returning them back into lunar orbit for return journey back home.

On the moon, astronauts took pictures and collected samples for analysis. Their LM was fitted with a television camera to transmit images back to Earth as well as various tools for exploring its surface – as well as an airlock to store urine and feces samples.

The astronauts had to traverse the lunar surface hopping to maneuver in its low gravity environment, which proved challenging with cumbersome spacesuits on. Most hopped while holding onto their lander’s sides; Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin preferred cross-country skiing across its dusty landscape to increase productivity on mission and potentially discover something of greater benefit to humanity. Lesson: Vision and boldness are indispensable tools in initiating missions that challenge status quo norms.

The Apollo program ran from 1969 to 1972, employing over 400,000 Americans at its peak. This remarkable mission marked humanity’s first and only encounter with life on another planet.

On 20 July, Armstrong and Aldrin made history when they ventured outside Eagle, their lunar module, for a two and half-hour moonwalk that involved scientific experiments, photographing their surroundings, communicating with Mission Control on Earth and conducting other tasks that required moving around on their spacewalks.

The Vision

American Apollo program’s vision was far-reaching and complex, involving hundreds of people, thousands of organizations, vast expenditures and incredible technological hurdles that had to be surmounted. It marked the culmination of years’ of work from NASA’s Mercury and Gemini programs – sending single astronauts into orbit in order to test human survival – all the way up through Apollo, with its goal being landing one man on the Moon before safely returning him back home again.

President Kennedy gave a landmark speech in 1961 that set the foundation of this endeavor. He laid out his bold goal: “I hope to put a man on the moon and return safely before this decade is out.” Kennedy listed some reasons for taking on such an ambitious goal – such as increasing geopolitical prestige and scientific knowledge among others.

However, Obama also needed to convince Congress – who were already considering cuts to NASA – of its national security and defense imperative of space exploration. Convincing his colleagues that spaceflight wasn’t simply an ambitious dream but something of real national importance required him to continue this fight even as his first term came close to ending; something which may well mean one term being his final one as president.

After Apollo 1 mission’s unfortunate end due to a fire-induced explosion that broke open its hatch and released highly pressurized oxygen, attention was focused on keeping the rest of the program on course. Under new program director James Webb, emphasis was put on landing on the Moon as being essential in maintaining congressional support and avoiding budget cuts.

Launch of Apollo 9 was the initial step. This mission successfully tested out the lunar module, which would transport two astronauts from Earth orbit to the lunar surface and back again; after which Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin made history when they set foot on the Moon on July 20, 1969, watched by an estimated 650 million viewers worldwide.

The Mission

The Apollo Program, undertaken from 1961 to 1972 under NASA, successfully sent humans to land on the Moon. It was an extension of Project Mercury, which had put humans into space for the first time, with the objective to develop technology capable of meeting other national interests while securing US dominance in space, and carry out scientific exploration of its surface.

The Mission to the Moon was an immense endeavor that required both unprecedented technological creativity and enormous commitment of resources in peacetime history. President John F. Kennedy outlined its goal in his famous 1961 “Moon Speech” at Rice University: landing human beings on the Moon by the end of this decade – an ambitious timeline which unfortunately saw many setbacks during its pursuit.

But the program survived political threats from President Lyndon B. Johnson, who wielded considerable clout with Congress due to his Senatorial experience and loyalty towards NASA Moon program since its conception. Furthermore, NASA Moon program also survived technical setbacks like Apollo 1 fire and hardware delays without incurring serious harm to itself or future funding streams.

On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin emerged from Eagle and onto the lunar surface, walking for almost three hours while using a television camera to send back images from their journey back to Earth. Along the way they collected 21.6 kilograms of samples while depositing seismometers, laser range retroreflectors, seismographs and devices to measure solar wind composition into lunar soil.

After conducting one of the longest EVAs ever attempted on any lunar mission to date, Armstrong and Aldrin returned to their CSM. They docked with it during its 27th revolution at 128 hours, three minutes into their mission. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin fired their service module’s engines to leave lunar orbit for Earth again before jettisoning their lunar module and joining Collins back in their command module before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean July 24. This mission marked a new era in human spaceflight that included three Skylab space station missions before one joint U.S./Soviet mission to Moon in 1975.

The Challenge

NASA’s Apollo Program was an international space race between capitalist United States and communist Soviet Union that began in 1957, culminating with President Kennedy setting a goal of landing humans safely on the moon and returning them safely back to Earth by 1961. Apollo featured three-person spacecraft: command module with crew quarters, flight control, lunar module to transport astronauts onto its surface as well as powering everything – and finally Saturn V rocket which powered all three elements together.

Apollo required many people, vast expenditures and complex technological hurdles in order to launch. Near-disasters threatened its launch; eventually Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history when they set foot on the Moon for the first time on 21 July 1969; fulfilling Kennedy’s goal and reinvigorating public enthusiasm in the project.

Once NASA had seen that astronauts could travel and return safely from space missions, NASA officials expedited their plans. Apollo 8 crew were able to complete an all-around lunar orbit in 10 days – giving the U.S. an edge in competing against Russia in terms of time-to-reach the Moon and take pictures that helped launch environmental movements around the globe. They performed various scientific experiments as part of this journey around our home planet that helped foster environmental activism.

At Apollo 11, during its lunar landing phase, its crew encountered several unexpected issues, such as an uneven gravitational field and rocky surfaces that threatened to tear off its descent engine. They eventually managed to land with only 30 seconds remaining of fuel remaining for landing.

Apollo was not only an amazing technical accomplishment, but also a monumental emotional and psychological one. The astronauts knew of its immense significance to humanity at large and knew many had contributed tirelessly in making it happen – this understanding fueling national pride as well as shared ownership for years afterward.

The Results

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, it’s important to recognize its impact beyond achieving space dominance over Soviet Russia; rather, this program gave birth to an entirely new field of scientific study: planetary science. According to Sean Solomon of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory: “We owe so much of what we know today about inner planets owing to Apollo,” adding: “we know much more about Mars now than we did prior to Apollo”.

On April 4, 1968, Apollo 1 launched for its maiden voyage into low Earth orbit with Walter Schirra, Don Eisele and R. Walter Cunningham aboard. It proved a tremendous success and laid the groundwork for subsequent moon landing missions to follow.

Armstrong and Aldrin left their lunar module Eagle after four hours of rest, ascending through its hatch to initiate their single moonwalk on 21 July 1969. While on their walk they installed science experiments onto the lunar surface, deployed a television camera which transmitted images back to Earth, displayed an American flag, read an inscription plaque, collected rock samples, described their surroundings to geologists verbally as they proceeded; also providing verbal updates during their walk.

They spent 18 hours exploring the lunar surface, deploying the Surveyor 3 instrument package and collecting 75 pounds of lunar rocks that they later returned to Earth for analysis. Furthermore, they conducted an inspection of their spacecraft, which had been exposed to lunar radiation for two and a half years prior.

One week later, Apollo 12 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin arrived at Hadley-Apennine site using LM Falcon while Alfred Worden orbited above in Endeavour. Each astronaut was equipped with long-duration Lunar Modules and improved spacesuits before using Lunar Roving Vehicle to explore far side. Together they collected over 170 pounds of samples including some that predated even Earth.

Apollo 8, famous for their iconic photo of Earth known as the “Earthrise,” also played an essential role. Their mission changed priorities for Apollo from E-type missions in Earth orbit testing CSM/LM to moon-bound C-prime missions which would enable it to meet other national goals including space preeminence and lunar exploration.

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