The Apollo Missions

By Ben

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, during Apollo 11

The Apollo missions were a series of 17 launches of manned and unmanned spacecraft, brought forth by the USA’s, NASA. The missions spanned from 1967-1972. There were six landings on the moon, and 12 people whom walked on it. Sadly, three men died in the course of action, and three missions had to be canceled. But it was a successful plan. It also kept JFK’s goal of landing on the moon in ten years.

On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy made a goal that the USA will be on the moon in ten years, saying “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”-John F. Kennedy

Early Disaster

Apollo 1 never launched. On the launchpad, three astronauts burned up in the cockpit of the Saturn I rocket. Sadly, Grissom,White, Chaffee all died in the spacecraft. This left many people skeptical about the Apollo missions. People were starting to loose hope that the dream of going to the moon might not come true.

Testing Rockets

After the Apollo 1 mission failed, scientists at NASA began to test other designs for other spacecraft. NASA launched five unmanned tests of the rockets. After testing rockets the scientists came with out with the Saturn IB rocket for Apollo 7, and the Saturn V rocket for Apollo 8 and the rest of the missions. The Saturn V rocket was the biggest rocket ever made, and still is. It is 363 feet tall, it weighed 6.5 million pounds, fully fueled. It took three astronauts, and a moon lander to space. NASA used it for ten missions. It was an extremely effective rocket. It got 30 men to space and back without harm. NASA considered the five test launches part of the Apollo missions, but didn't really consider them as Apollo 2,3 ,4 etc. So that's why there isn't an Apollo 2-6.

Orbiting, but not landing

Apollo 8 was the first mission to encounter the moon. It got in orbit around the moon, but never landed (intentional). Apollo 8 then returned to earth. Apollo 9 then repeated the same process. Apollo 10 was a "rehearsal" of Apollo 11. It came within nine miles of the moon, but again never landed.

On the Moon

" The Eagle has landed" were the words when Captain Neil Armstrong set down the Lunar Module. Buzz Aldrin joined the Armstrong in the lander, while Michael Collins orbited the moon. Armstrong was first on the moon, and said, "That's one small step for man, on giant leap for mankind." The crew stayed for two hours and left, and returned home.

Near Disaster

NASA averted a catastrophic disaster. On Apollo 13, in space, an oxygen tank inside the capsule exploded, causing the crew to loose oxygen. Jim Lovell said the famous words,"Houston, we've had a problem." The crew then, went to the Lunar Module and used the oxygen in there. The crew used the moon as a slingshot to get back to earth, and landed with safety in the ocean.

There were going to be 20 Apollo missions, but 18,19, 20 were all canceled due to budget. NASA had basically ran out of money to fund the trips and canceled the missions. Apollo 20 was going to have a Skylab launched, but of course didn't happen.

Even if the Apollo Missions didn't have as many missions as they had liked, it still was an extremely successful program. It landed the only people who have ever been on the moon. It was a giant leap for mankind.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

Hi Ben. I liked your story on the Apollo Missions. I am glad to see you have other interests besides sports!! Although sports are great, so is space, so thanks for sharing this story. Your fan, Patty