Spacecraft are vehicles designed to leave Earth’s atmosphere and travel through space, including satellites that orbit our planet, robots sent out into outer space, and vehicles used by astronauts traveling to the Moon.
Armstrong descended the ladder from Columbia into Eagle and made history when he set foot onto the lunar surface for the first crewed landing on the Moon. It marked a giant step for mankind.
50 years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history when they landed on the Moon, watched by millions across the world through television broadcast.
After performing a double check, Kranz gave his crew permission to initiate powered descent initiation. Eagle’s radar started locking onto lunar surface while astronauts deployed experiments and conducted surveys in preparation for safe landing on Moon.
Apollo 12 astronauts Commander Charles “Pete” Conrad and Alan Bean made a successful landing in the Ocean of Storms on November 19, within walking distance of NASA’s Surveyor 3 probe which had touched down two years earlier – showing future spacecraft could reach remote scientific sites with ease.
After a short EVA, an empty ascent stage was launched from Earth into lunar orbit for deorbiting, creating a predictable seismic stimulus for use with the ALSEP seismometer experiment.
Apollo 13 crew were left stranded when an oxygen tank explosion disabled their spacecraft, endangering their lives. Astronaut Jim Lovell relayed to Mission Control via radio call that their crew had lost water, electricity and most significantly their oxygen supply.
Houston’s Mission Control team decided to steer the spacecraft onto a course that would propel it around the moon more quickly and hasten its journey back towards Earth.
Apollo 14 marked the inaugural mission to explore the lunar highlands – rugged regions located above its dark maria – as well as Alan Shepard’s return to space after two years spent recovering from severe bouts of vertigo that prevented his historic Mercury MR-3 flight.
Shepard was joined by command module pilot Stuart Roosa for two EVAs in Fra Mauro highlands to deploy and collect rock and soil samples using Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package as well as use for the first time a Modular Equipment Transporter wheeled cart that carried tools and supplies.
Once they landed successfully, the astronauts used their lunar rover and deployed various experiments before collecting 77.3 kilograms of lunar samples.
Apollo 15 marked NASA’s inaugural “J series” Apollo mission designed for prolonged stays on the moon. Commander David Scott, Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin and Command Module Pilot Alfred Worden were Air Force pilots who trained primarily in geological sciences during this mission.
Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charlie Duke utilized the lunar rover to explore Flag Crater on the Moon. Their findings demonstrated that lunar highlands are less shaped by volcanic rocks than expected.
After 71 hours in space, they returned safely to Casper. Although some minor glitches occurred along the way, Sweet Sixteen proved one of the most successful field expeditions ever.
This was the final manned mission to the Moon and it landed in the Taurus-Littrow valley between two mountains taller than Grand Canyon. Commander Eugene Cernan and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt spent 75 hours walking on the surface while driving a lunar rover more than 19 miles; marking an EVA record that still stands today.
People tend to associate Apollo with Neil Armstrong and its lunar landing mission on Apollo 13, yet many may not know that there were actually three other landings within its scope.
The E mission was a test of the command and service module (CSM), while F was a dress rehearsal, with G being the big event.
At the tail-end of Apollo 13, Jack Schmitt actively advocated for landing on Tsiolkovskiy crater on the moon’s far side; however, NASA administrators refused to consider his proposal due to special communications satellites required which would increase costs significantly.
On July 20, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took off from the Lunar Module Ascending Stage to meet up with Collins again in orbit.
William Rutledge, a retired astronaut and member of Apollo 20 mission, revealed in 2007 a top secret US-Soviet search of the moon’s far side for evidence of alien spacecrafts and found miles-long wreckage and humanoid artifacts, among other artifacts.
Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt created history by planting an American flag on the lunar surface. They spent three days exploring its rugged highlands with their rover.