Chapter 16. Apollo by the numbers

16.1 Apollo landing sites


Figure 16-1. The Apollo landing sites. A11 - Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility), July 1969; A12 - Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms), November 1969; A14 - Fra Mauro, February 1971; A15 - Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains), July 1971; A16 - Descartes Highlands, April 1972; A17 - Taurus-Littrow Valley, December 1972. Photo credit: PA.


16.2 The Apollo missions

Missions are listed chronologically. CM = Command Module; LM = Lunar Module; CDR = Commander; LMP = Lunar Module Pilot; CMP = Command Module Pilot.

AS-201 (“Apollo 201”)

Figure 16-2.1. Liftoff of Apollo-Saturn 201. Photo S66-22930 (NASA).


Crew: none.

Launcher: Saturn IB.

LM: none.

Lunar orbit: none.

CM and LM call signs: not assigned (CM was present; LM was not).

Launch and return dates: February 26, 1966.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: 37 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: none. Automatic onboard movie cameras shot footage to acquire technical data.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: This was the first flight of a Saturn IB launcher, which consisted of an uprated version of the first stage of the Saturn I (launched successfully 10 times between October 1961 and July 1965) and a new second stage, the S-IVB, which would later become the third stage of the Saturn V. The flight was suborbital, reaching a maximum altitude of 488 kilometers (303 miles), and carried into space a Block I Apollo command and service module that had been modified specifically for this launch.

This mission tested the ignition and restarting of the service module engine and tested the structure and heat shield of the command module with a reentry that was slower (29,000 km/h, 18,000 mph) but steeper than those planned for crewed lunar missions.


AS-203

Figure 16-2.2. Liftoff of Apollo-Saturn 203. Photo KSC-66PC-160.


Crew: none.

Launch vehicle: Saturn IB.

LM: none.

Lunar orbit: none planned.

CM and LM call signs: none (no CM or LM present).

Launch and return dates: July 5, 1966.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: 6 hours and 20 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: none. Automatic onboard TV and movie cameras recorded the behavior of the hydrogen in the fuel tanks.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: This flight was numerically out of sequence because it was scheduled initially as the third launch of the Saturn IB booster but was moved up due to delays in preparing the second scheduled flight.

AS-203 tested the behavior of the Instrument Unit and of the S-IVB stage, particularly of its fuel settling systems, in weightless conditions. It was also the first orbital flight of an S-IVB. The Apollo spacecraft was replaced with an aerodynamic fairing.

The system that provided continuous venting of the liquid hydrogen of the S-IVB was found to generate a modest but constant thrust that was sufficient, as expected, to settle the hydrogen in the tanks, preventing any weightless sloshing of the fuel, which would have prevented the stable supply of fuel to the engine. This was a key requirement in order to allow restarting of the J-2 engine of the S-IVB stage during a trip to the Moon.


AS-202

Figure 16-2.3. Liftoff of AS-202.


Crew: none.

Launch vehicle: Saturn IB.

LM: none.

Lunar orbit: none planned.

CM and LM call signs: not assigned (CM present, LM not present).

Launch and return dates: August 25, 1966.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: 1 hour 33 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: none. Automatic onboard movie and TV cameras shot footage to acquire technical data.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: The main goals of this mission were testing the heat shield of the command module and performing structural qualification of the Saturn IB for carrying astronauts. Fuel cells were used for the first time as onboard power supply.

The command and service modules reached a maximum altitude of 1,144 kilometers (711 miles) along its suborbital path. The engine of the service module was started several times to demonstrate its restarting capability, which was essential for the maneuvers planned for flights to the Moon.

Reentry followed the intended trajectory, which made the Apollo command module “bounce” off the atmosphere, gaining altitude before final descent. This maneuver produced a double impact with the atmosphere and therefore generated a double peak in the heating of the heat shield which was very similar to the peak that would occur during crew return from the Moon. External temperature was estimated at 1,482 °C (2,700 °F); cabin temperature was 21 °C (70 °F).


Apollo 1 (AS-204)

Figure 16-2.4. Left to right: Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.


Crew: Virgil Grissom (CDR), Edward White (Senior Pilot), Roger Chaffee (Pilot).

Launch vehicle: Saturn IB.

LM: none.

Lunar orbit: none planned.

CM and LM call signs: not assigned (CM present, LM not present).

Launch and return dates: January 27, 1967.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: not applicable.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: none.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: The Apollo 1 flight, the first crewed mission of the Apollo program, was scheduled for liftoff on February 21, 1967, but the prime crew, consisting of Grissom, White and Chaffee, died in a fire inside the command module during a rehearsal of the countdown procedures on January 27, 1967.

The specific source of the fire was never pinpointed, but many materials used on board were flammable in the pure oxygen atmosphere at high pressure (1.13 atm, 16 psi) used for the test and combustion was initiated by an electrical short-circuit. Just seventeen seconds elapsed between the crew’s first report of flames and the final radio transmission from the spacecraft. The internal overpressure made it impossible to open the hatch and attempt any rescue until the pressure buildup ruptured the vehicle, far too late to save the crew.

This disaster delayed the crewed part of the Apollo project by 20 months. The Saturn IB launcher assigned to the Apollo 1 mission was later used for the first test flight of the lunar module (Apollo 5). The name Apollo 1 was reserved by NASA and removed from the progressive numbering of the missions in honor of the three dead astronauts.


Apollo 4 (AS-501)

Figure 16-2.5. Liftoff of Apollo 4 (NASA).


Crew: none.

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present, but only as an engineering mockup.

Lunar orbit: none planned.

CM and LM call signs: not assigned (CM and LM both present).

Launch and return dates: November 9, 1967.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: 8 hours 37 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: 715 (with 70 mm automatic still camera). Automatic onboard movie cameras shot footage to acquire technical data.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: This was the first flight of the Saturn V and qualified it for carrying astronauts. The noise generated at liftoff was so powerful that the launch tower was damaged severely and the buildings of the control center and the press room shook so much that ceiling panels fell around CBS reporter Walter Cronkite.

The Apollo capsule reached a maximum distance from Earth of 18,092 kilometers (11,240 miles) and was turned so as to expose one half to the Sun and keep the other half in shadow, creating the maximum temperature differential and assessing the ability of the spacecraft to withstand these extremes. Radiation shielding was also tested. The Service Module engine was restarted to accelerate the vehicle and create the worst possible reentry conditions that might occur during a return from the Moon. A Lunar Module engineering mockup was carried on board.

The spectacular movie footage of the separation of the interstage ring of this flight is often used in documentaries and movies but attributed to other missions.


Apollo 5 (AS-204R)

Figure 16-2.6. Liftoff of Apollo 5. Photo S68-19456 (NASA/Archive.org).


Crew: none.

Launch vehicle: Saturn IB.

LM: present, but legs were not installed.

Lunar orbit: none planned.

CM and LM call signs: not assigned (CM absent, LM present).

Launch and return dates: January 22-23, 1968.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: 11 hours 10 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: none.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: The primary goal of this mission was to test in Earth orbit the Lunar Module and the Instrument Unit in the configuration that would be used for the Saturn V. The LM was legless because the legs weren’t ready. The Saturn IB launcher from the Apollo 1 mission was reused.

This flight verified that the LM was able to adjust the thrust and orientation of the descent engine and to separate the descent stage from the ascent stage even in the extreme case of an abort during descent to the Moon.

The LM used for this flight suffered from many problems and delays. During a test on another LM being built, the windows had exploded due to the internal pressure, so this mission flew with aluminum panels to close the window openings.

The LM control software shut down the engine earlier than required and ground control had to intervene manually, but the flight was nonetheless considered a success.


Apollo 6 (AS-502)

Figure 16-2.7. Liftoff of Apollo 6 (NASA).


Crew: none.

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present, but only as an engineering mockup.

Lunar orbit: none planned.

CM and LM call signs: not assigned (CM and LM present).

Launch and return dates: April 4, 1968.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: 9 hours 57 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: 370 (with 70 mm automatic still camera). Automatic onboard movie cameras shot footage to acquire technical data.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: This second test flight of the Saturn V aided in human-rating the giant launcher and testing the new Command Module hatch.

Violent longitudinal oscillations (“pogo”), intolerable for a crew, occurred during liftoff. One of the fairing panels of the Lunar Module suffered a structural failure and pieces of its covering came off. In the second stage, one engine shut down prematurely due to excessive vibrations and another one was shut down due to incorrect wiring; the onboard systems were forced to compensate for the error, leading to an orbit that was significantly different from the planned one.

These and other malfunctions and errors prevented completion of the original flight plan, which would have taken the spacecraft to a distance equal to the Moon’s. The flight also used dedicated instruments to test radiation exposure inside the cabin. The often-used footage of the interstage ring separation is taken from this flight and from Apollo 4.


Apollo 7 (AS-205)


Figure 16-2.8. Left to right: Donn Eisele, Wally Schirra and Walt Cunningham, on the aircraft carrier USS Essex, just after returning from their mission. Photo KSC-68PC-211, WallySchirra.com.


Crew: Wally Schirra (CDR), Walter Cunningham (LMP), Donn Eisele (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn IB.

LM: not present.

Lunar orbit: none planned.

CM and LM call signs: not assigned (CM present, LM absent).

Launch and return dates: October 11-22, 1968.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: 10 days 20 hours 9 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: 532. Live TV broadcasts were also made.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: This was the first crewed flight of the Apollo spacecraft, 21 months after the Apollo 1 disaster, and tested all of its systems in Earth orbit. An orbital rendezvous was performed by using the S-IVB stage as a target, but no actual docking was carried out. The crew performed the United States’ first live TV broadcast from space.

The astronauts came down with a head cold, which was particularly unpleasant in weightlessness, and this contributed to a sort of rebellion against the orders from Mission Control, especially on the matter of wearing helmets and gloves during reentry, as the crew was concerned that they would be unable to clear their noses and throats from the mucus accumulated in their heads, which would suddenly start flowing due to deceleration. Mission Control was instead concerned that any unexpected depressurization of the cabin would be lethal if the astronauts weren’t wearing their full reentry gear. The astronauts made the final decision and went through reentry without helmets and gloves.

Apollo 7 was the first US flight to use a mixed-gas atmosphere (65% oxygen, 35% nitrogen) instead of pure oxygen.


Apollo 8 (AS-503)


Figure 16-2.9. The Earth photographed from the Moon during Apollo 8. Photo AS8-14-2383.


Crew: Frank Borman (CDR), William Anders (LMP), James Lovell (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present as a test article. Weight on Earth: 9,026 kg (19,900 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (10 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: not assigned (CM and LM present).

Launch and return dates: December 21-27, 1968.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: 6 days 3 hours 0 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: 1,100. Live TV broadcasts were made and movie footage was shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: Apollo 8 was truly groundbreaking: the first crewed flight of a Saturn V, the first crewed mission to fly significantly far from the Earth and the first crewed flight around the Moon. The mission gave mankind the first photographs of the entire Earth taken by astronauts and the first live TV transmission of a crew from lunar orbit. Borman, Lovell and Anders were the first human beings to see the far side of the Moon with their own eyes.

This flight tested successfully the long-range communication and navigation equipment and methods needed for a mission to the Moon. The astronauts, however, were affected by headaches, vomiting and diarrhea in addition to sleeping problems, worsened by staggered sleep shifts and an excessive workload.

As the crew orbited the Moon, they read the first verses of the Book of Genesis live on TV, setting the record for the most watched broadcast in history (approximately 1 billion people in 64 countries).


Apollo 9 (AS-504)


Figure 16-2.10. Russell Schweickart exits from the Command Module hatch, 6 March 1969. Photo AS09-20-3064.


Crew: James McDivitt (CDR), Russell Schweickart (LMP), David Scott (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-3). Weight on Earth: 14,530 kg (32,034 lb).

Lunar orbit: none (mission in Earth orbit).

CM and LM call signs: Gumdrop, Spider.

Launch and return dates: March 3-13, 1969.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: 10 days 1 hour 0 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: 1,373. TV broadcasts were made and movie footage was shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: This was the first flight of the complete Apollo spacecraft, including the Lunar Module, the first internal crew transfer between the two vehicles (from the Command Module to the Lunar Module and back), and the first docking, undocking and re-docking of the CM and LM. Schweickart performed the first spacewalk in a fully autonomous spacesuit (all previous spacewalks had used suits that depended on the spacecraft for cooling and oxygen).

McDivitt and Schweickart performed the first crewed flight of a spacecraft that was unable to reenter the atmosphere and used the LM’s engines to fly up to 183 kilometers (114 miles) away from the CM and test the separation of the LM’s ascent and descent stages.

The mission tested thoroughly and successfully the Apollo spacesuit and the Lunar Module, which were vital components for the Moon landings, as well as the communications, rendezvous, docking and crew transfer procedures. All these goals were achieved despite Schweickart’s bouts of nausea and vomiting.


Apollo 10 (AS-505)


Figure 16-2.11. The ascent stage of Apollo 10’s Lunar Module climbs back from its lunar flight to dock with the Command Module. Detail of photo AS10-34-5108.


Crew: Tom Stafford (CDR), Gene Cernan (LMP), John Young (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-4). Weight on Earth: 13,941 kg (30,735 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (31 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: Charlie Brown, Snoopy.

Launch and return dates: May 18-26, 1969.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: 8 days 0 hours 3 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: 1,436. TV transmissions were broadcast and movie footage was shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: This flight was a dress rehearsal of the actual Moon landing. It was the first lunar flight of the complete Apollo spacecraft and tested the LM, which undocked from the Command and Service Module for eight hours and descended to 14,450 meters (47,400 feet) from the surface of the Moon, with Stafford and Cernan on board, along a path that simulated the actual landing trajectory. The descent stage was then jettisoned and the astronauts used the ascent stage to climb back to the CM and dock, achieving the first rendezvous in lunar orbit. The first color TV transmissions from space were also broadcast.

Apollo 10 demonstrated Mission Control’s ability to handle two spacecraft simultaneously at lunar distances, checked all the lunar descent procedures (except for the actual landing) and tested the LM’s landing radar.

This flight holds the record for the highest speed ever attained by a crewed spacecraft: 39,937 km/h (24,815 mph), during the return from the Moon.


Apollo 11 (AS-506)

Figure 16-2.12. Buzz Aldrin, photographed by Neil Armstrong, installing scientific instruments on the Moon. Photo AS11-40-5947.


Crew: Neil Armstrong (CDR), Buzz Aldrin (LMP), Michael Collins (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-5). Weight on Earth: 15,095 kg (33,728 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (30 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: Columbia, Eagle.

Launch and return dates: July 16-24, 1969.

Lunar landing date and time: July 20, 1969 20:17:39 GMT.

Lunar landing site: Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility).

Number of moonwalks: one (2 hours 31 minutes 40 seconds).

Mission duration: 8 days 3 hours 18 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: 21 hours 36 minutes.

Number of photographs taken: 1,408, of which 339 on the Moon (121 of which were taken during the moonwalk). TV transmissions were broadcast and color movie footage was shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: 21.55 kg (47.5 lb).

Rover: none.

Notes: This was mankind’s first crewed landing on the Moon and the first return of samples and of very high resolution photographs from another celestial object, including panoramas, stereo images and extreme close-ups of the ground.

During landing, the onboard computer was overloaded with data and the automatic navigation system attempted to take the LM into an area strewn with boulders. Armstrong took control and steered the vehicle (with computer assistance) to a less dangerous area, but this deviation took so long that the LM landed with less than a minute of fuel left. The mission was a complete success and allowed the United States to keep President Kennedy’s promise, made only eight years earlier, to land a man on the Moon and return him safely.

Armstrong and Aldrin’s moonwalk began on July 21, 1969 at 2:56:15 GMT (22:56:15 EDT), 6 hours 39 minutes after landing. The maximum distance of the astronauts from the LM was approximately 60 meters (200 feet).


Apollo 12 (AS-507)


Figure 16-2.13. Pete Conrad inspects the Surveyor 3 probe on the Moon. Photo AS12-48-7134.


Crew: Pete Conrad (CDR), Alan Bean (LMP), Dick Gordon (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-6). Weight on Earth: 15,223 kg (33,652 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (45 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: Yankee Clipper, Intrepid.

Launch and return dates: November 14-24, 1969.

Lunar landing date and time: November 19, 1969 6:54:35 UTC.

Lunar landing site: Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms).

Number of moonwalks: 2 (3 hours 56 minutes; 3 hours 49 minutes).

Mission duration: 10 days 4 hours 36 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: 1 day 7 hours 31 minutes.

Number of photographs taken: 2,119, of which 583 on the Moon. Color TV transmissions were broadcast and color movie footage was taken.

Quantity of Moon rocks: 34.3 kg (75.7 lb).

Rover: none.

Notes: The second crewed Moon landing demonstrated that pinpoint touchdown was possible: the LM landed just 185 meters (600 feet) from its target, the Surveyor 3 probe. This was the first (and so far the only) time that a crewed mission visited another space vehicle on another celestial body and returned some of its parts.

During liftoff, the Saturn V booster was struck twice by lightning, leading to multiple malfunctions. Only John Aaron’s rapid reaction in Mission Control solved a situation that was leading to an extremely dangerous mission abort.

A color TV camera was used for the live broadcast of the moonwalk, but the camera failed because it was pointed briefly at the Sun, damaging its sensor.

This mission placed on the Moon instruments that were powered by a small nuclear generator, which kept them active for years, providing a constant stream of science data, which was later cross-referenced with the data from subsequent Apollo flights. Conrad and Bean walked up to 411 meters (1,350 feet) away from the LM.


Apollo 13 (AS-508)

Figure 16-2.14. The Service Module of Apollo 13, ripped open by the explosion, is abandoned by the astronauts just before they reenter the Earth’s atmosphere. Detail from photo AS13-59-8501. Whitish marks at top left are marker smudges on the film.


Crew: James Lovell (CDR), Fred Haise (LMP), John Swigert (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-7). Weight on Earth: 15,192 kg (33,493 lb).

Lunar orbit: scheduled but replaced by a fly-around, setting the absolute crewed record for distance from Earth at 400,171 km (248,654 miles).

CM and LM call signs: Odyssey, Aquarius.

Launch and return dates: April 11-17, 1970.

Lunar landing date and time: scheduled but not performed.

Lunar landing site: Fra Mauro (not reached).

Number of moonwalks: None. EVAs were scheduled but not performed.

Mission duration: 5 days 22 hours 54 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: None. Scheduled but not performed.

Number of photographs taken: 604 (none on the Moon). Color TV transmissions were broadcast and color movie footage was shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: None. Collection was scheduled but not performed.

Rover: none.

Notes: A vital oxygen tank in the Service Module burst at 3:07:53 UTC on April 14, 1970, three days after liftoff from Earth on the way to the Moon, 322,000 kilometers (200,000 miles) from Earth. This depleted dramatically the oxygen reserves and the power available, since Apollo’s fuel cells depended on the tank’s oxygen to generate electricity. The historically famous phrase “Houston, we have a problem” was actually uttered by Swigert as “OK, Houston, we’ve had a problem”; Lovell then repeated “Houston, we’ve had a problem”. The plight of the Apollo 13 astronauts was followed live on TV all over the world.

To save the astronauts, all the systems of the command module were shut down, producing an intense cold inside the spacecraft, and the Lunar Module’s reserves and engine were used. The emergency trajectory forced Lovell, Haise and Swigert to fly all the way to the Moon, swing around it and then finally fly back to Earth, where they landed, in very poor physical shape but still standing, three days and 15 hours after the beginning of their ordeal.


Apollo 14 (AS-509)


Figure 16-2.15. Alan Shepard holds the US flag on the Moon. Photo AS14-66-9232.


Crew: Alan Shepard (CDR), Edgar Mitchell (LMP), Stuart Roosa (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-8). Weight on Earth: 15,279 kg (33,685 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (34 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: Kitty Hawk, Antares.

Launch and return dates: January 31-February 9, 1971.

Lunar landing date and time: 12 May, 1971 9:18:11 UTC.

Lunar landing site: Fra Mauro.

Number of moonwalks: 2 (4 hours 47 minutes; 4 hours 34 minutes).

Mission duration: 9 days 0 hours 1 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: 1 day 9 hours 3 minutes.

Number of photographs taken: 1,338, of which 417 on the Moon. Color TV broadcasts were made and color movie footage was shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: 42.3 kg (93.2 lb).

Rover: none. However, a manually propelled cart, termed MET (Modular Equipment Transporter), was used.

Notes: During descent to the Moon, a false contact sent an incorrect signal to the LM’s computer, bringing the spacecraft close to an automatic abort of the mission. Changes to the onboard software, performed on the fly to avoid this risk, caused a failure of the radar altimeter, which however recovered just in time to achieve landing.

At 47, Shepard set the record for the oldest moonwalker. In addition to their science tasks, Shepard hit some golf balls with a club he assembled by attaching a genuine #6 iron to the handle of the contingency sample tool and Mitchell threw the handle of a tool as if it were a javelin. Roosa carried on board the CM several hundred tree seeds, which were planted after the flight returned to Earth, giving rise to the so-called “Moon trees”.

This was the first mission to use red stripes on the legs, arms and helmet to identify the commander (Apollo 13’s suits already had this feature but were never used). Shepard and Mitchell set the walking distance record from the LM at 1.5 kilometers (about one mile) but were unable to climb to the destination of their second moonwalk, the 300-meter (1,000-ft) wide Cone Crater. Images of the landing site taken in 2009 revealed that after traveling approximately 400,000 kilometers (250,000 miles) the two astronauts missed Cone Crater by just 30 meters (about 90 feet).


Apollo 15 (AS-510)


Figure 16-2.16. Jim Irwin next to the Lunar Rover. Detail of photo AS15-86-11598.


Crew: David Scott (CDR), James Irwin (LMP), Alfred Worden (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-10). Weight on Earth: 16,437 kg (36,238 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (74 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: Endeavour, Falcon.

Launch and return dates: July 26-August 7, 1971.

Lunar landing date and time: July 30, 1971 22:16:29 UTC.

Lunar landing site: near Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains).

Number of moonwalks: 3 (6 h 32 m; 7 h 12 m; 4 h 49 m) plus a stand-up EVA: Scott, wearing his spacesuit, stood up through the LM’s top docking hatch and scanned the surrounding area visually and photographically for 33 minutes.

Mission duration: 12 days 7 hours 11 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: 2 days 18 hours 54 minutes.

Number of photographs taken: 2,640, of which 1,151 on the Moon. Color TV transmissions were made (including the liftoff of the LM from the Moon) and color movie footage was also shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: 77.3 kg (170.4 lb).

Rover: Yes, driven for a total of 27.9 km (17.3 miles).

Notes: This flight included the first use of the Rover lunar car, which allowed a far greater exploration range of up to 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) and made Scott the first car driver on another celestial object. Scott and Irwin were the first moonwalkers to perform three excursions and sleep on the Moon without wearing their spacesuits, which were improved and less rigid. They collected the Genesis Rock, one of the oldest Moon rocks returned to Earth, over 4 billion years old.

Worden launched a science subsatellite from the Service Module in lunar orbit. During the return trip, he performed the first deep-space spacewalk to recover the film canisters of the automatic mapping cameras.

During the third moonwalk, Scott dropped simultaneously a feather and a hammer to confirm Galileo’s theory that different bodies fell at the same rate in a vacuum. He also secretly placed on the Moon a small sculpture, the Fallen Astronaut, to honor the Russian and American space travelers whose deaths were publicly known at the time.


Apollo 16 (AS-511)


Figure 16-2.17. Charlie Duke on the Moon. Photo AS16-114-18423, processed to reduce internal reflections from the camera.


Crew: John Young (CDR), Charles Duke (LMP), Kenneth Mattingly (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-11). Weight on Earth: 16,437 kg (36,237 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (64 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: Casper, Orion.

Launch and return dates: April 16-27, 1972.

Lunar landing date and time: April 21, 1972 2:23:35 UTC.

Lunar landing site: Descartes highlands.

Number of moonwalks: 3 (7 h 11 m; 7 h 23 m; 5 h 40 m).

Mission duration: 11 days 1 hour 51 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: 2 days 23 hours 2 minutes.

Number of photographs taken: 2,801, of which 1,787 on the Moon. Color TV transmissions were made (including the liftoff of the LM from the Moon) and color movie footage was also shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: 95.7 kg (211 lb).

Rover: yes, for a total of 26.7 km (16.6 miles).

Notes: Young and Duke were the first astronauts to explore the highlands of the Moon. They spent a total of 20 hours on the Moon outside the LM and traveled for 26.7 km (16.6 miles) on the Rover, reaching a maximum distance of 4.6 km (2.8 miles) from their spacecraft. Young set the land speed record with the Rover, at 17.1 km/h (10.6 mph). Duke became the youngest moonwalker (he was 36). Apollo 16 had the highest elevation of the Sun above the horizon (48.7°).

During the first of their three moonwalks, the Apollo 16 astronauts collected the heaviest single sample, which weighed 11 kg (24 lb) and was named Big Muley in honor of Bill Muehlberger, director of geology operations for this mission. A photographic spectrograph/telescope, sensitive to far ultraviolet radiation, which on Earth is mostly blocked by the atmosphere, was used for the first time.

Mattingly, during the return trip, performed an hour-long spacewalk approximately 310,000 km (192,000 miles) from Earth while Duke leaned out of the Command Module hatch to help him. Mattingly’s wedding ring, lost in the cabin a few day earlier, started to float out of the hatch, but Duke managed to catch it before it became lost in space.


Apollo 17 (AS-512)


Figura 16-2.18. Harrison Schmitt next to the Lunar Rover, photographed by Gene Cernan. Photo AS17-146-22386.


Crew: Gene Cernan (CDR), Harrison Schmitt (LMP), Ron Evans (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-12). Weight on Earth: 16,448 kg (36,262 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (75 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: America, Challenger.

Launch and return dates: December 7-19, 1972.

Lunar landing date and time: December 11, 1972 19:54:57 UTC.

Lunar landing site: Taurus-Littrow Valley.

Number of moonwalks: 3 (7 h 11 m; 7 h 36 m; 7 h 15 m).

Mission duration: 12 days 13 hours 51 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: 3 days 2 hours 59 minutes.

Number of photographs taken: 3,581, of which 2,237 on the Moon. Color TV transmissions were made (including the liftoff of the LM from the Moon) and color movie footage was also shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: 110.5 kg (243.6 lb).

Rover: yes, for a total of 35.7 km (22.2 miles).

Notes: The last lunar mission of the Apollo project was the first night launch of a US crew, the longest stay on the Moon and in lunar orbit and as a whole the longest lunar mission. It used the heaviest Lunar Module (1,383 kg (3,050 lb) heavier than the one used for Apollo 11), returned the heaviest load of Moon rocks (five times more than Apollo 11), featured the first visit of a geologist (Schmitt) to another world, took the most photographs, covered the greatest distance in a single Rover excursion (20 kilometers (12.4 miles)), and ventured farthest from the LM (7.6 km (4.7 miles)).

Apollo 17 was also the only mission to investigate the nature of lunar soil by using gravimetric measurements and transmitting radio signals through the ground.

Gene Cernan was the last man to walk on the Moon: he left its surface to reenter the Lunar Module at 5:35 GMT on December 14, 1972. Since then, no one has visited the Moon.

This mission, like the previous one, also performed a 67-minute spacewalk during the return trip.


Skylab


Figure 16-2.19. Skylab as seen by the crew of Skylab 2 after the repairs they made (NASA).


In 1973 and 1974, three Apollo missions flew on Saturn IB launchers to Skylab, the United States’ first space station in Earth orbit. Skylab was a converted S-IVB stage and was launched by a Saturn V on May 14, 1973. These flights provided invaluable science on Earth observations and on the effects of long-term weightlessness on human physiology, setting endurance records (28, 59 and 84 days) for their crews:

– Skylab 2 (May 25, 1973 - June 11, 1973): Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz, Joe Kerwin.

– Skylab 3 (July 28, 1973 - September 25, 1973): Alan Bean, Jack Lousma, Owen Garriott.

– Skylab 4 (November 16, 1973 - February 8, 1974): Gerald Carr, William Pogue, Ed Gibson.


Apollo-Soyuz


Figure 16-2.20. Alexei Leonov (left) and Deke Slayton (right) meet in space.


The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was a joint flight (July 15-24, 1975) of an Apollo Command and Service Module, launched by a Saturn IB, and of a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft. The two vehicles performed a rendezvous and docking in Earth orbit, allowing their crews (astronauts Deke Slayton, Tom Stafford and Vance Brand; cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Valeri Kubasov) to meet and demonstrate an unprecedented international collaboration in space.

This was the final flight of an Apollo spacecraft and the last spaceflight of an American astronaut for almost six years, until the first Space Shuttle mission, STS-1, lifted off 5 years and 264 days later, on April 12, 1981.


16.3 Apollo astronauts

This list provides the full name, year of birth and death, age at death, and mission(s) flown of every Apollo astronaut, sorted alphabetically by surname. The role and age during each Apollo mission is also given. Apollo 1 crew information is included as a tribute to their loss during preflight training. “STS” references a Space Shuttle flight. This information is valid as of 28 September 2018.

Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin Jr (1930- ) – Gemini 12, Apollo 11 (LMP, 39)

William Alison Anders (1933- ) – Apollo 8 (LMP, 35)

Neil Alden Armstrong (1930-2012, 82) – Gemini 8, Apollo 11 (CDR, 38)

Alan LaVern Bean (1932-2018, 86) – Apollo 12 (LMP, 37), Skylab 3 (CDR, 41)

Frank Frederick Borman II (1928- ) – Gemini 7, Apollo 8 (CDR, 40)

Vance DeVoe Brand (1931- ) – Apollo-Soyuz (CMP, 44), STS-5, STS-41-B, STS-35

Gerald Paul Carr (1932- ) – Skylab 4 (CDR, 41)

Eugene Andrew “Gene” Cernan (1934-2017, 82) – Gemini 9-A, Apollo 10 (LMP, 35), Apollo 17 (CDR, 38)

Roger Bruce Chaffee (1935-1967, 31) – Apollo 1 (Pilot, 31)

Michael Collins (1930- ) – Gemini 10, Apollo 11 (CMP, 38)

Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr (1930-1999, 69) – Gemini 5, Gemini 11, Apollo 12 (CDR, 39), Skylab 2 (CDR, 43)

Ronnie Walter “Walt” Cunningham (1932- ) – Apollo 7 (LMP, 36)

Charles Moss Duke Jr (1935- ) – Apollo 16 (LMP, 36)

Donn Fulton Eisele (1930-1987, 57) – Apollo 7 (CMP, 38)

Ronald Ellwin Evans (1933-1990, 56) – Apollo 17 (CMP, 39)

Owen Kay Garriott (1930- ) – Skylab 3 (Science Pilot, 43), STS-9

Edward George Gibson (1936- ) – Skylab 4 (Science Pilot, 38)

Richard Francis “Dick” Gordon Jr (1929-2017, 88) – Gemini 11, Apollo 12 (CMP, 40)

Virgil Ivan “Gus” Grissom (1926-1967, 40) – Mercury 4, Gemini 3, Apollo 1 (CDR, 40)

Fred Wallace Haise Jr (1933- ) – Apollo 13 (LMP, 36)

James Benson Irwin (1930-1991, 61) – Apollo 15 (LMP, 41)

Joseph Peter Kerwin (1932- ) – Skylab 2 (Science Pilot, 41)

James Arthur Lovell Jr (1928- ) – Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8 (CMP, 40), Apollo 13 (CDR, 42)

Jack Robert Lousma (1936- ) – Skylab 3 (Pilot, 37), STS-3

Thomas Kenneth “Ken” Mattingly II (1936- ) – Apollo 16 (CMP, 36), STS-4, STS-51-C

James Alton McDivitt (1929- ) – Gemini 4, Apollo 9 (CDR, 39)

Edgar Dean Mitchell (1930-2016, 85) – Apollo 14 (LMP, 40)

William Reid Pogue (1930-2014, 84) – Skylab 4 (Pilot, 43)

Stuart Allen Roosa (1933-1994, 61) – Apollo 14 (CMP, 37)

Walter Marty “Wally” Schirra (1923-2007, 84) – Mercury 8, Gemini 6A, Apollo 7 (CDR, 45)

Harrison Hagan Schmitt (1935- ) – Apollo 17 (LMP, 37)

Russell Louis “Rusty” Schweickart (1935- ) – Apollo 9 (LMP, 33)

David Randolph Scott (1932- ) – Gemini 8, Apollo 9 (CMP, 36), Apollo 15 (CDR, 39)

Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr (1923-1998, 74) – Mercury 3, Apollo 14 (CDR, 47)

Donald Kent “Deke” Slayton (1924-1993, 69) – Apollo-Soyuz (Docking Module Pilot, 51)

Thomas Patten Stafford (1930- ) – Gemini 6-A, Gemini 9-A, Apollo 10 (CDR, 39), Apollo-Soyuz (CDR, 45)

John Leonard “Jack” Swigert Jr (1931-1982, 51) – Apollo 13 (CMP, 38)

Paul Joseph Weitz (1932- ) – Skylab 2 (Pilot, 41), STS-6

Edward Higgins White II (1930-1967, 36) – Gemini 4, Apollo 1 (Senior Pilot, 36)

Alfred Merrill Worden (1932- ) – Apollo 15 (CMP, 39)

John Watts Young (1930-2018, 88) – Gemini 3, Gemini 10, Apollo 10 (38), Apollo 16 (CDR, 41), STS-1, STS-9

Astronauts who flew around the Moon. Only 24 people, all American white males, have ever left low Earth orbit and flown to the Moon at least once, on Apollo 8, 10 and 13 (circumlunar flights) and Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 (lunar landing flights). Twelve of them are still alive: Buzz Aldrin, William Anders, Frank Borman, Michael Collins, Charles Duke, Fred Haise, James Lovell, Ken Mattingly, Harrison Schmitt, David Scott, Thomas Stafford, and Alfred Worden. Twelve have died: Neil Armstrong, Alan Bean, Eugene Cernan, Charles Conrad, Ron Evans, Richard Gordon, James Irwin, Edgar Mitchell, Stuart Roosa, Alan Shepard, John Swigert, and John Young.

Moonwalkers. Only 12 of the 24 circumlunar astronauts walked on the Moon. Four are still alive: Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11), David Scott (Apollo 15), Charles Duke (Apollo 16), and Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17). Eight are no longer with us: Neil Armstrong (Apollo 11), Alan Bean (Apollo 12), Charles Conrad (Apollo 12), Edgar Mitchell (Apollo 14), Alan Shepard (Apollo 14), James Irwin (Apollo 15), John Young (Apollo 16), and Gene Cernan (Apollo 17).

Multiple trips to the Moon. Three astronauts flew to the Moon twice: James Lovell (Apollo 8 and 13), John Young (Apollo 10 and 16) and Eugene Cernan (Apollo 10 and 17). Lovell was the only astronaut to fly twice to the Moon without ever setting foot on it: Young and Cernan landed on the Moon during their second trips.


16.4 The Saturn V/Apollo spacecraft


Figura 16.4-1. Cutout illustration of the Saturn V/Apollo vehicle (1967). Credit: Dan Beaumont.


Overall dimensions and weight. Height: 111 m (363 ft). Diameter (at the base, not including the fins): 10 m (33 ft). Weight: 2,822 t (6.2 million lb, Apollo 8) to 2,965 t (6.5 million lb, Apollo 16).


First stage (S-IC)

Dimensions and weights. Height: 42 m (138 ft). Diameter: 10 m (33 ft). Weight without fuel: 129,822 kg (286,208 lb, Apollo 15) to 138,451 kg (305,232 lb, Apollo 8). Fully fueled weight: 2,175,939 kg (4,797,126 lb, Apollo 8) to 2,288,088 kg (5,044,371 lb, Apollo 16).

Fuel load. RP-1 kerosene and liquid oxygen, 2,034,664 kg (4,485,668 lb, Apollo 8) to 2,155,071 kg (4,751,120 lb, Apollo 16). Burn rate: 12,437 kg/s (27,420 lb/s, Apollo 13) to 12,741 kg/s (28,089 lb/s, Apollo 15).

Propulsion. 5 F-1 engines (4 gimbaling, 1 fixed). Total rated thrust: 3,401,940 kg (7.5 million lb, Apollo 8) to 3,451,840 kg (7.61 million lb, all other flights).


Second stage (S-II)

Dimensions and weights. Height: 25 m (138 ft). Diameter: 10 m (33 ft). Weight without fuel: 35,356 kg (77,947 lb, Apollo 13) to 40,142 kg (88,500 lb, Apollo 8). Fully fueled weight: 471,114 kg (1,038,628 lb, Apollo 8) to 493,536 kg (1,088,061 lb, Apollo 16).

Fuel load. Liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, 430,324 kg (948,702 lb, Apollo 8) to 456,635 kg (1,006,708 lb, Apollo 16).

Propulsion. 5 J-2 engines (4 gimbaling, 1 fixed). Total rated thrust: 510,291 kg (1.12 million lb, Apollo 8) to 521,631 kg (1.15 million lb, all other flights).


Third stage (S-IVB)

Dimensions and weights. Height: 17.8 m (58.5 ft). Diameter: 6.6 m (21.7 ft). Weight without fuel: 9,912 kg (21,852 lb, Apollo 7) to 11,760 kg (25,926 lb, Apollo 8). Fully fueled weight: 116,357 kg (256,523 lb, Apollo 7) to 120,798 kg (266,315 lb, Apollo 15).

Fuel load. Liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, 105,866 kg (233,395 lb, Apollo 9) to 108,618 kg (239,462 lb, Apollo 15).

Propulsion. One J-2 restartable engine. Rated thrust: 104,326 kg (230,000 lb).


Command and service module (CSM)

Dimensions and weights. CM height: 3.47 m (11.4 ft). SM height (including engine bell): 7.5 m (24.6 ft). CM diameter: 3.91 m (128.ft). SM diameter: 3.91 m (12.8 ft). Crew volume in CM: 6 m3 (210 cu ft). CM fueled weight: 5,557 kg (12,250 lb, Apollo 11) to 5,840 kg (12,874 lb, Apollo 17). SM fueled weight: 18,413 kg (40,593 lb).

Fuel load. Aerozine 50 (50% hydrazine, 50% unsymmetric dimethyl hydrazine) and dinitrogen tetroxide, hypergolic.

Propulsion. CM: only maneuvering thrusters. SM: one main engine and 16 maneuvering thrusters. SM main engine thrust: 9,298 kg (20,500 lb).


Launch Escape System (LES)

Dimensions and weight. Height: 10 m (33 ft). Diameter: 0.66 m (26 in). Fully fueled weight: 4,042 kg (8,910 lb).

Fuel. Solid compound based on polysulfides.

Propulsion. One main motor, one maneuvering motor and one jettison motor, all solid-fueled. Main engine thrust: 66,678 kg (147,000 lb).


Spacecraft/Lunar Module Adapter (SLA)

Dimensions and weight. Height: 8.53 m (28 ft). Diameter: 6.60 m (260 in) at the base, 3.91 m (154 in) at the top. Weight: 1,814 kg (4,000 lb).

Fuel and propulsion. None.


Lunar Module (LM)

Dimensions and weights. Height: 7.29 m (23 ft). Distance between outer ends of legs (deployed): 9.4 m (31 ft). Length of three probes under footpads: 173 cm (68 inches). Diameter of the four footpads: 81 cm (32 in). Total surface of four footpads: 20,750 cm2 (3,216 sq in). Cabin volume: 6.7 m3 (235 cu ft), of which 4.5 m3 (160 cu ft) habitable. Weight: 13,941 kg (30,735 lb, Apollo 10) to 16,448 kg (36,262 lb, Apollo 17).

Fuel load. Aerozine 50 (50% hydrazine, 50% unsymmetric dimethyl hydrazine) and dinitrogen tetroxide, hypergolic; 2,365 kg (5,214 lb) in the ascent stage, 8,100 kg (18,100 lb) in the descent stage.

Engines. Descent stage: one, with throttleable thrust (476-4,380 kg; 1,050-9,870 lb) and gimbaling nozzle. Ascent stage: one primary engine, with fixed thrust (1,589 kg; 3,500 lb) and fixed nozzle, and 16 attitude control thrusters.

Saturn V onboard computer (Instrument Unit)

Dimensions and weight. Height: 0.91 m (3 ft). Diameter: 6.6 m (21 ft 8 in). Weight: 1,953 kg (4,306 lb).


Lunar Rover

Dimensions and weights. Length: 2.96 m (116.5 in). Width: 2.06 m (81 in). Height: 1.14 m (44.8 in). Wheelbase: 2.28 m (90 in). Weight: 209.6 kg (462 lb) on Earth, 34.8 kg (77 lb) on the Moon.

Top speed. 13 km/h (8 mph).

Propulsion. 4 electric driving motors; 2 electric motors for the steering system of the 4 steerable wheels.

Cost. 38 million dollars for 5 complete vehicles plus three test vehicles and associated training.


Space suits

Weights. Including the PLSS, approximately 81 kg (180 lb) on Earth or 13.5 kg (30 lb) on the Moon. The PLSS alone weighed approximately 27 kg (60 lb) on Earth or 4.5 kg (10 lb) on the Moon.


Apollo onboard computer (CM/LM)

RAM. 4,096 words of 16 bits = 64,000 bit = approximately 8 kbytes.

Clock. 2.048 MHz.

1202 error. Solved by Steven Bales and Jack Garman.


16.5 Moon rocks


Figure 16.5-1. Apollo lunar rock sample 15498 at the Lunar Sample Vault in Houston. Credit: OptoMechEngineer/Wikimedia.


Total collected Moon rocks. Approximately 382 kg (842 lb). The heaviest single rock (“Big Muley”, Apollo 16) weighs 11.7 kg (25.9 lb).


16.6 Photographs


Figure 16.6-1. First-generation duplicate of a film used during the Apollo 11 mission and previously owned by Buzz Aldrin. Credit: Heritage Auctions.


SO-368 film. Kodak Ektachrome MS color reversal film, ASA 64, 70 mm, double perforation, Estar polyester backing. Used for color photographs outside the LM on Apollo 11.

SO-168 film. Kodak Ektachrome EF color reversal film, ASA 160 (pushed to 1000 ASA for onboard photographs), 70 mm. Used for the ALSCC (stereoscopic lunar surface close-up camera) and for color photographs on all flights except Apollo 11, which used it only for onboard photos.

Type 3400 (HBW) film. Kodak Panatomic-X black and white 70 mm film, ASA 80. Used for the Apollo 11 black and white photographs.

SO-267 (HBW) film. Plus-XX black and white film, ASA 278. Used for photographs outside the LM during Apollo 12 and 14.

Type 3401 (HBW). Plus-XX black and white film, ASA 80-125. Used for photographs outside the LM on Apollo 15, 16 and 17.

Magazine. 160 color photographs, 200 black-and-white.

Total of photographs taken on the surface of the Moon. Over 17,000.

Exposure settings. Aperture: f/5.6, f/8 or f/11. Shutter speed: 1/250, except for some photographs with polarization, taken at 1/125.


16.7 The Moon and the Earth


Figure 16.7-1. The Earth-Moon system to scale. Credit: Wikimedia.


Earth-Moon distance (center to center). Average: 384,403 km (238,857 miles), equal to about 30 Earth diameters. Minimum: 363,104 km (225,622 miles). Maximum distance: 405,696 km (252,088 miles).

Diameter of the Moon. 3,474 km (2,158 miles), 1/4 of the Earth’s diameter.

Diameter of the Earth. 12,740 km (7,916 miles).

Orbit around the Earth. Every 27.3 Earth days.

Lunar escape velocity. 2.38 km/s (5,323 mph).

Albedo of the Moon. 0.12. The light reflected by the Moon at first quarter or last quarter, i.e., when half of a sunlit hemisphere is visible from Earth, is only 8% of the light reflected by a full Moon.

Temperature at the surface. Average 107°C (224.7°F), maximum 123°C (253.4°F), minimum -153°C (243.4°F). Minimum temperature can drop to -233°C (-387.4°F) in polar regions that are permanently in shadow. At a depth of 1 m (40 in), the temperature is almost constant at -35°C (-31°F).

Distance of the horizon. 2.4 km (1.5 miles) on the Moon; 4.7 km (3 miles) on Earth.

Duration of lunar day and night. 340 hours each.

Size of the Earth in the lunar sky. About 3.6 times the diameter of the Moon in the Earth’s sky.

Brightness of the Earth in the lunar sky. 40 times that of a full Moon.


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