The Apollo Missions Video

NASA’s Apollo program consisted of six missions which used command modules and lunar modules to land astronauts on the Moon.

On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set sail from Columbia’s command module and entered their lunar module Eagle, landing successfully and surveying its surface before calling home: “Houston Tranquility Base here: the Eagle has landed!”

Apollo 1

NASA set itself an ambitious goal during the 1960s: landing a man on the moon. Mercury and Gemini spacecraft had provided practice opportunities for astronauts as they tested out space procedures; but its Apollo program required three crewmembers traveling from Earth orbit to lunar surface and back using an Earth-orbiting Command Module and Lunar Module, providing for greater distance travel between orbit and lunar surface.

North American Aviation’s Saturn IB rocket would launch two modules for their maiden voyage into space for the first time during an important prelaunch test, carrying Commander Virgil “Gus” Grissom and Senior Pilot Edward White along with rookie Pilot Roger Chaffee aboard Apollo 1. Unfortunately, during this critical prelaunch test a fire broke out and pad technicians were unable to open Apollo 1’s hatch in time to save its inhabitants due to faulty wiring ignited the pressurized pure oxygen atmosphere and instantly consumed it by flames.

Apollo 2

Details: This mission marked the inaugural flight of Saturn V rocket and tested both Command/Service Module (CSM) and Lunar Module (LM). Additionally, Little Joe II launch escape system which would bring astronauts safely back down from space should anything go wrong was also put through its paces.

Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham served as crewmembers on this 11-day flight that featured live television broadcasts from within a manned spacecraft. To keep viewers engaged throughout this historic feat, tours of Apollo spacecraft, demonstrations of zero gravity meal preparation techniques as well as humorous jokes were offered regularly to keep audiences amused.

This was the fourth mission to land humans on the Moon and first time astronauts Shepard and Mitchell spent more than three days exploring its surface, collecting over 43 kilograms of samples for scientific study before returning back to CSM. Furthermore, they drove a lunar rover for the first time!

Apollo 3

After several unmanned test flights of the Block II command and service module (CSM), Apollo 3 marked the inaugural manned lunar orbit. Furthermore, astronauts experienced their first lunar landing aboard a spacecraft with an interconnecting tunnel between CSM and Lunar Module for seamless travel between these modules.

On July 20, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon, collecting over 250 pounds of samples – providing invaluable new information about this distant celestial body. Their groundbreaking feat continues to reveal new information about it today.

Long-distance television transmission gave viewers an inside view of the LM. Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham entertained audiences with tours of their spacecraft as well as humorous remarks – this was also the first live transmission from an manned spacecraft.

Apollo 4

Apollo 4 marked NASA’s inaugural uncrewed test flight of its Saturn V rocket and spacecraft components, while also simulating key maneuvers like translunar injection. Launched from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A on November 4, 1967 and successfully inserting itself into Earth orbit and simulating critical maneuvers such as translunar injection.

As the Apollo spacecraft rose to a maximum altitude of approximately 40 miles, a camera in its command module captured part of what future Apollo astronauts would see from their windows. Later, as its second stage fired its engines to jettison its interstage ring and separate from Apollo 4, recoverable film cameras captured this event.

Apollo 4 successfully returned to Earth and reentered its atmosphere using its SPS engine for four minutes and 40 seconds before safely reentry into the Pacific Ocean. Following splashdown, Eagle’s Lunar Roving Vehicle carried out various science experiments including passive seismometer measurements of moonquakes and meteor impacts as well as numerous science experiments designed by its crew including passive seismometer measurements of moonquakes.

Apollo 5

At 50 years after its debut, this documentary still remains an insightful and thought-provoking look at an enormous undertaking. Veteran documentarian Tom Jennings uses archive footage, recordings made inside NASA buildings and interviews from associated broadcasters to tell the tale of American space program’s race against Soviet Russia for lunar landing.

The mission’s primary purpose was to test the Lunar Module (LM), which would transport two astronauts safely from lunar orbit down to its surface and back again. Its lower descent stage contained landing gear and engine components while its upper ascent stage housed crew compartment and equipment areas.

On this mission, astronauts Stafford and Cernan used the Lunar Module’s ascent engine to propel it from its docking to the Command Module into lunar orbit and descended to its surface where they conducted several experiments including passive seismometers for measuring moonquakes and meteor impacts.

Apollo 6

Engineers in Firing Room 2 of KSC’s Launch Control Center began the final countdown for Apollo 6 on April 3. This spacecraft featured two crew members; its Saturn V rocket carried them from Earth to Moon and back again.

The Apollo 6 test flight proved successful, yet not without some nerve-wracking moments. One such moment occurred when Saturn V’s S-IVB stage burned for almost twice its intended duration, creating significant acceleration oscillations that reached +0.6g amplitude; far above any upper limit allowed for human missions and intolerable had the Apollo 6 mission been carrying astronauts onboard.

After conducting two orbits to verify that both the Command Module (CM) and Lunar Module (LM) were ready, mission control fired the Spacecraft Motor Engine for 442 seconds–approximately twice its burn duration for lunar return–bringing it into an apogee at approximately 11,989 nautical miles (22,204 km) where instruments tested how well its heat shield protected its interior cabin against radiation in Van Allen belts.

Apollo 7

The Apollo 7 mission, launched on October 11, 1968, marked the inaugural manned flight of a crewed command module (CSM), as well as astronauts’ first orbit around Earth. Additionally, this flight demonstrated that all systems within its spacecraft were capable of transporting humans safely to the Moon.

Wally Schirra, Don Eisele and Walter Cunningham spent 11 days in space conducting test flights of the command module that demonstrated its safety for sending humans to the Moon. In addition, this crew took photographs and cine film footage of Earth from orbit – including Hurricane Gladys shots that demonstrated its value – which helped demonstrate orbital observation’s value to future missions.

Schirra and Eisele performed the first live television broadcast from space – an impressive public relations feat at a time when hippies were becoming popular, Americans were concerned with civil rights, the Vietnam War, racial tensions. Unfortunately for both of them however, severe head colds afflicted them during this mission, leading them to experience difficulty communicating with Mission Control as a result.

Apollo 8

Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders were the first to break free of Earth orbit and gaze upon the moon’s far side, taking iconic images including “Earthrise”, which forever altered human perception of their home planet. Additionally, Apollo 8 demonstrated that Saturn V rockets and Apollo command and service modules could transport astronauts safely to lunar orbit as well as demonstrate translunar injection and midcourse correction capabilities as well as navigation, communications and consumable assessment services provided by CSMs.

Michael Collins was NASA’s only remaining Gemini program member (and the only surviving Gemini pilot). On 21 December 1968 from Kennedy Space Center, Apollo 8 set off on an around-the-moon mission, originally intended as a test of Lunar Module in Earth orbit, however due to intelligence suggesting Soviet plans for their own lunar expedition and technical issues with Lunar Module not being ready yet, an around-the-moon flight was switched. They completed 10 orbits around the moon surveying potential landing sites while gathering geological observations on preselected features mapped ahead.

Apollo 9

On March 3, 1969, three astronauts aboard a Saturn V rocket launched for Apollo 9, the inaugural test flight of Lunar Module–the spider-like lander that would transport them to the Moon’s surface. They successfully conducted a mock lunar landing and docking procedure as part of a simulation, as well as evaluated newly designed spacesuits designed specifically for Apollo 9.

Aldrin reported problems with the Landing Radar of his LM, which appeared to be reading an altitude that did not correspond with what was shown on PGNS. He turned to Mission Control for assistance.

Armstrong took photographs of Earth from space, creating the iconic “Blue Marble” image depicting green and tan landmasses, sapphire oceans, white clouds and ice caps, white clouds, and green and tan landmasses which has since become a symbol for environmental awareness. Schmitt and Cernan conducted lunar surface reconnaissance, taking gravity measurements and chipping away ancient boulder fragments while collecting subsurface core samples which they brought back for analysis here on Earth. During the Apollo program’s voyages they also set several major milestones while driving advances in technologies related to human spaceflight such as avionics and computers which ultimately benefit us today.

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