Mission to the Moon

Apollo 11

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first humans on the Moon, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC. Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface six hours later on July 21 at 02:56 UTC. Armstrong spent about two and a half hours outside the spacecraft, Aldrin slightly less, and together they collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material for return to Earth. The third member of the mission, Michael Collins, piloted the command spacecraft alone in lunar orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned to it just under a day later for the trip back to Earth.

Launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16, Apollo 11 was the fifth manned mission of NASA's Apollo program. The Apollo spacecraft had three parts: a Command Module (CM) with a cabin for the three astronauts, and the only part that landed back on Earth; a Service Module (SM), which supported the Command Module with propulsion, electrical power, oxygen, and water; and a Lunar Module (LM) for landing on the Moon. After being sent toward the Moon by the Saturn V's upper stage, the astronauts separated the spacecraft from it and traveled for 3 days until they entered into lunar orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin then moved into the Lunar Module and landed in the Sea of Tranquility. They stayed a total of about 21 1⁄2 hours on the lunar surface. After lifting off in the upper part of the Lunar Module and rejoining Collins in the Command Module, they returned to Earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.

Launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16, Apollo 11 was the fifth manned mission of NASA's Apollo program. The Apollo spacecraft had three parts: a Command Module (CM) with a cabin for the three astronauts, and the only part that landed back on Earth; a Service Module (SM), which supported the Command Module with propulsion, electrical power, oxygen, and water; and a Lunar Module (LM) for landing on the Moon. After being sent toward the Moon by the Saturn V's upper stage, the astronauts separated the spacecraft from it and traveled for three days until they entered into lunar orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin then moved into the Lunar Module and landed in the Sea of Tranquility. They stayed a total of about 21 1⁄2 hours on the lunar surface. After lifting off in the upper part of the Lunar Module and rejoining Collins in the Command Module, they returned to Earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.

Project Gemini

Project Gemini was NASA's second human spaceflight program. It was a United States government civilian space program began in 1961 and concluded in 1966. Project Gemini was conducted between projects Mercury and Apollo. The Gemini spacecraft carried a two-astronaut crew. Ten crews flew low Earth orbit (LEO) missions between 1965 and 1966. It put the United States in the lead during the Cold War Space Race with the Soviet Union. Its objective was to develop space travel techniques to support Apollo's mission to land astronauts on the Moon. Gemini achieved missions long enough for a trip to the Moon and back; perfected working outside the spacecraft with extra-vehicular activity (EVA); and pioneered the orbital maneuvers necessary to achieve rendezvous and docking. With these new techniques proven in Gemini, Apollo could pursue its prime mission without doing these fundamental exploratory operations. All Gemini flights were launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 19 (LC-19), in Florida. Its launch vehicle was the Gemini–Titan II, a modified Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).[Note 1]Project Gemini was the first program to use Houston as the Mission Control for its flights.[Note 2]The astronaut corps that supported Project Gemini included the "Mercury Seven," "The New Nine" and the 1963 astronaut class. During the program, three astronauts died in air crashes during training, including the prime crew for Gemini 9.

Project Mercury

Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States, running from 1959 through 1963. An early highlight of the Space Race, its goal was to put a solo human into Earth orbit and return the person safely, ideally before the Soviet Union. Taken over from the US Air Force by the newly created civilian space agency NASA, it spanned twenty unmanned developmental missions involving test animals, and successful missions completed by six of the seven Mercury astronauts.The Space Race had begun with the 1957 launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1. This came as a shock to the American public, and led to the creation of NASA to expedite existing U.S. space exploration efforts, and place most of them under civilian control. After the successful launch of the Explorer 1 satellite in 1958, manned spaceflight became the next goal.The Soviet Union put the first human, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, into a single orbit aboard Vostok 1 in April 1961. Shortly after this, on May 5, the US launched its first astronaut, Alan Shepard, on a suborbital flight. Soviet Gherman Titov followed with a day-long orbital flight in August, 1961. The U.S. reached its orbital goal on February 20, 1962, when John Glenn made three orbits around the Earth. When Mercury ended in May 1963, both nations had sent six people into space, but the US was still behind the Soviets in terms of total time spent in space.

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