Details, Apollo program:
Country United States
Purpose Crewed lunar landing
First crewed flight Apollo 7 (October 11, 1968)
Last flight Apollo 17 (December 19, 1972)
- Preceded by the Mercury and Gemini programmes, Apollo became the third human spaceflight initiative to be administered by NASA.
- Apollo was set up as an unambitious programme to launch a spacecraft with 3 astronauts. It was, in fact, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy who presented the idea of landing on the moon in a congress meeting held on 25 May 1961.
- 12 crewed missions were a part of the program, 6 of which landed on the lunar surface.
- The programme’s first crewed mission, scheduled to launch on 21 February 1967, ended in a tragedy. A fire in the cabin ignited the pure oxygen during the rehearsal, resulting in the deaths of three crew members. The mission was named Apollo 1 in their memory.
- Apollo 8 resulted in a lawsuit! Madalyn Murray O’Hair, founder of the American Atheists sued the United States government, for violating the First Amendment.
- The US Government was sued after Apollo 8!
When Apollo 8 succeeded in orbiting the Moon for the first time in December 1960, the crew made a live broadcast on Christmas Eve. During the broadcast, the astronauts read from the book of Genesis.
- There is an experiment that has been continuously collecting data since man first landed on the moon in 1969 (Apollo 11). It is called the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment, and its findings were able to confirm Einstein’s theory of relativity.
- The Apollo program’s cost was a total of $25.4 billion, which amounts to $152 billion in today’s currency. It was by far the largest development project with the biggest research force, that employed over 400,000 US citizens.
- Number 9 on this list is, of course, the very famous Tom Hanks flavoured Apollo 13 that never made it to the Moon! There is no place for superstitions in the realm of science, so after Apollo 12, came Apollo 13. Even though Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13 couldn’t care less about the number itself, his wife Marylin was not happy with it. However, her suspicions were not so much superstitious as they were a gut feeling. The mission was delayed from March 12 to April 11, making the launch date 4–11–70, digits, when added, giving a total of 13.
- The last man to have walked on the Moon was a part of Apollo 17, which holds the record for the longest Moon landing and the longest Moonwalk!
- The programme brought back 382 kg of Moon rock from the lunar surface!
- One of the biggest contributions of the Apollo program was innovative, space-friendly everyday items. Even though billions of dollars were invested to develop new technologies, space suits, rockets and launchers, the 6,300 technologies developed for everyday life played a pivotal role in the program and are used even today! One such piece of technology is the cordless drill which was originally invented to be used on the Moon surface to drill rocks. Another such piece is the joystick! It was used to navigate the Lunar Ranger.
- The commemorative memorial tablet left on the moon in 1969, by the Apollo 11 crew, reads “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
- Niel Armstrong left a souvenir on the surface in the memory of the Apollo 1 astronauts who lost their lives in a testing accident. Despite the geopolitical tension of the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States, Apollo astronauts also left medals for the deceased Yuri Gargarin and Vladamir Komarov.
- Other things you could find on the moon: cameras, tongs, tools, scales, a hammer, empty food packets, insulated blankets, urine containers and other defection collection devices.
READ MORE ABOUT The Apollo program:
The Apollo 8 Lawsuit:
The American Atheists:
Madalyn Murray O’Hair:
The (un)luck of Apollo 13: