The Apollo Missions Dates

apollo missions dates

President Kennedy issued an ambitious challenge for Americans to reach the moon by 1961 and place two men on its surface. NASA achieved this goal in July 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first people ever to step foot onto its surface while Michael Collins orbited around it with Columbia Command Service Module.

The Descartes highlands mission provided scientists with new insight into our moon’s geological history and inspired the widely popularized “Earthrise” photo that later appeared on posters and US postage stamps.

Apollo 1

Details: This was the first mission in which astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin actually touched down on the Moon. On July 20, they left their lunar module, Eagle, at Sea of Tranquility region to explore its surface by installing science experiments, taking pictures, collecting samples for later analysis as well as driving a lunar rover around.

On Jan. 27 1967 during a test flight of this mission, tragedy struck when an oxygen tank in the command module exploded, leading to the deaths of astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee.

Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan used the Apollo 10 mission as a dress rehearsal for a lunar landing. Detaching their lunar module from its command-service module, they descended within 9 miles of its surface before rejoining both modules to return back into Earth orbit.

Apollo 2

Apollo 2 was NASA’s inaugural manned test flight of its Saturn V rocket, launched on Oct 11, 1968 with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham aboard. They spent 11 days orbiting Earth to ensure all components would function effectively for lunar landing missions.

Details: This mission served as a rehearsal for Apollo 11, and demonstrated its docking of lunar module and command service module. Commander Thomas Stafford and Lunar Module Pilot Eugene Cernan flew the lunar module for eight hours, coming within nine miles of Moon surface.

After just two days into their mission, James Lovell and Fred Haise’s voyage was abruptly ended when an oxygen tank exploded unexpectedly. With their planned lunar landing at Fra Mauro cancelled, they instead remained in lunar orbit while Commander John Swigert guided their rapid return homeward via an accelerated trajectory around the Moon.

Apollo 3

NASA’s Apollo program evolved out of their Mercury and Gemini projects, which launched one-person crews into space to test techniques for future lunar missions. One major advance was the Saturn V rocket which could carry three astronauts per mission inside its three-person capsule.

Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin first set foot on the moon’s surface for 21 hours in July 1969, making history by becoming humans to do so. Their mission capped an intensive plan that started with Gemini 10 testing key equipment before leading up to Apollo 9 where command module and lunar landing modules had successfully separated and docked together successfully.

Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan’s Apollo 10 crew was the farthest away from Earth that anyone had been before them. Launching from the moon’s surface aboard Eagle’s ascent stage, they rendezvoused with Columbia in lunar orbit before jettisoning the lunar module before returning home aboard Columbia.

Apollo 4

On November 9, 1967, Saturn V launched its fourth uncrewed test mission aimed at verifying its ability to reach the moon. Additionally, this mission provided an opportunity to practice rendezvousing and EVA procedures.

Apollo 12 — Nov 14, 1969

Astronauts Charles “Pete” Conrad and Alan Bean survived a lightning strike during liftoff and arrived at an opposite area of the moon than Apollo 11. Once on its surface they collected samples, deployed experiments designed to assess its effects, as well as retrieving data from NASA’s Surveyor 3 probe that had been orbiting for two years – then returned safely back home before rejoining their command module and returning home again.

Apollo 5

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins made history when they landed the LM on July 20, 1969 for Apollo 5 mission five: they made history not only by landing but by also performing spacewalk and taking images for posterity! Also during this mission was performed first manned spacewalk in an Apollo lunar landing mission and carried camera to record images on landing!

This mission will always be remembered for discovering two different kinds of lunar rocks: basalt and breccia. While breccia consists of broken fragments from other rocks, basalt solidifies as it cools away into solid rocks.

NASA began preparations for its moon landing with its Mercury program, sending one-person crews into orbit to test living and working conditions before expanding to Gemini to perfect maneuvers needed for Apollo missions. Furthermore, unmanned Apollo 10 served as a dress rehearsal for Apollo 11 while Apollo 13’s attempt at lunar landing was interrupted due to an oxygen tank explosion during transit.

Apollo 6

Since NASA undertook major modifications of their Command/Service Module and Saturn V rocket after Apollo 1 failed to launch successfully in January 1967, their second stage test flight of Apollo 6 mission on April 6, 1968 marked an important turning point.

Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin successfully separated from the CSM and landed in the Sea of Tranquility. Over three days on the moon they collected 77 kilograms of samples – marking extended use of their lunar rover.

Armstrong and Aldrin spent two hours performing maneuvers during a powered descent after returning to the LM. It proved one of the most daunting aspects of their mission; nevertheless they successfully landed it with only 30 seconds remaining of fuel in reserve – marking humans’ briefest ever stay on another planet’s surface.

Apollo 7

After the Apollo 1 disaster, when thick smoke filled its crew module during a test, NASA took time to regroup and retrain their astronauts before redesigning its command module.

On October 11, 1968, astronauts Michael Collins, Edwin (“Buzz”) Aldrin and Neil Armstrong piloted Apollo 7 into Earth orbit as part of President John F. Kennedy’s challenge of landing humans on the Moon by the end of this decade. It marked the inaugural piloted mission aboard such an Apollo spacecraft since that milestone mission back in 1967.

Apollo 10’s mission in July 1969 can be considered the dress rehearsal for Apollo 11; its success ensured astronauts could safely complete a single-person spacecraft mission without being attached to its mother ship; marking an important step toward developing next generation space technology such as spacesuits.

Apollo 8

NASA was inspired by the success of Project Mercury and Gemini missions to develop plans to send humans to the Moon. This required developing massive Saturn V rockets and lunar spacecraft, such as command modules and Lunar Roving Vehicles for testing before human missions could launch onto it.

Apollo 8 marked the inaugural manned test flight of this novel mission architecture. On 21 December 1968, astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders successfully broke free of Earth orbit and witnessed first-hand our moon’s far side for themselves for the first time – along with taking an iconic photo that has since been reproduced in posters and stamps around the world.

Two months later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history when they flew the Eagle lunar module to land on the Moon for three days of exploration and sample collection before driving the LM rover across its surface. It became an indelible moment in human history.

Apollo 9

Apollo 9 marked the maiden voyage of the lunar module, the spider-like spacecraft designed to transport astronauts to the Moon. James McDivitt, David Scott and Russell Schweickart boarded a Saturn V rocket for this inaugural test flight and completed a simulated lunar surface descent before testing command-service module (CSM) docking between Lunar Module (LM).

Mission 1 was also successful in practicing orbital rendezvous and spacewalk techniques that would become essential components of Apollo program. Astronauts took what has come to be known as an iconic “Earthrise” photograph during this mission.

Last of the manned Apollo missions, this one was delayed after an onboard fire claimed three astronauts’ lives during pre-launch rehearsal. Thomas Stafford, John Young and Eugene Cernan made great strides forward nonetheless by venturing farther from Earth than anyone had before and deploying Snoopy as well as practicing the launch sequence that would eventually be used during lunar landing operations.

Scroll to Top