Apollo Mission – Journey to Explore the Moon

Apollo Mission – Journey to Explore the Moon

“That’s one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind.”

The above phrase is indeed very familiar as it was said by Neil Armstrong, the first ever human to step on the surface of the moon. But little did people know, Armstrong rode Apollo 11 alongside with two of his friends who are Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Armstrong and Aldrin both did their mission on the surface of the moon and so do Collins which his mission was to orbit the moon.

The Apollo mission is not an overnight work. The research started on 1961 and Apollo 11 was only launched in 1969. Generally, the Apollo project was established to send human to the moon and bring them back safely. But the mission carries a few more goals which are to complete a few goals namely establishing the technology to meet other national interests in space, achieving pre-eminence in space for the America, carrying out a program of scientific exploration of the Moon and developing human capability to work in the moon environment.

Altogether there was 17 Apollo mission but only six of them succeeded in landing human to the surface of the moon. What happened to the Apollo mission before Apollo 11? The table below will explain about all the Apollo missions from Apollo 1 – Apollo 17:

Apollo 1

27 January 1967

·         Exploded at the launch pad during a test flight.

·         Tragically killed three astronauts namely Virgil Grissom, Roger Chaffee and including the first American to perform spacewalk, Edward White.

Apollo 2 (AS – 202)

25 August 1966

·         Unmanned suborbital test flight which included spacecraft guidance and navigation control system and fuel cells.
Apollo 3 (AS – 203)

5 July 1966

·         Unmanned test flight. Launched for vehicle development.
Apollo 4

9 November 1967

·         Unmanned test flight to test all aspects of Saturn V launch vehicle.

·         Part of the mission was to return pictures of the Earth taken automatically using the Command Module (CM) apogee camera.

Apollo 5

22 January 1968

·         First unmanned flight of Apollo Lunar Module (LM) to confirm the ascent and descent stages, propulsion system, restart operations and to evaluate spacecraft structure.
Apollo 6

4 April 1968

·         Final qualification of Saturn V launch vehicle and Apollo spacecraft for manned Apollo mission.
Apollo 7

11 October 1968

·         First manned flight that succeeded to demonstrate the Command and Service Module (CSM).

·         This flight was live broadcasted from the space.

Apollo 8

21 December 1968

·         First manned flight to orbit the moon and back to the Earth.

·         The first pictures of the moon taken from the space were from this mission.

·         This mission also succeeded to make the first live broadcast of the surface of the moon.

Apollo 9

3 March 1969

·         The first manned flight for the LM.

·         Overall checkout for the launch vehicle, spacecraft system, crews and also the procedure.

Apollo 10

18 May 1969

·         The first flight of a complete, manned Apollo spacecraft to operate around the moon.

·         Tested every aspects of an actual moon landing without actually landing on the moon.

Apollo 11

16 July 1969

·         The first flight to land on moon.

·         Collected samples of the moon surface materials return to Earth.

·         Photographic task.

Apollo 12

14 November 1969

·         The second flight to land on moon.

·         Developed techniques for precision – landing capabilities.

·         Further evaluation of the human capability to work on the moon for a prolonged period of time.

·         Photographic task.

Apollo 13

11 April 1970

·         Failed to land on moon due to rupture on the oxygen gas tank.

·         However, manage to orbit the moon and return to Earth nevertheless the insufficient energy the spacecraft had.

Apollo 14

31 January 1971

·         Resume what Apollo 13 was supposed to do.

·         Collected some samples to return to Earth, taking a high – resolution picture of the future landing sites, deep – space phenomena.

·         Communication test for reflective properties of the moon surface via S – band and VHF signals.

·         Photographic task.

Apollo 15

26 July 1971

·         Explored the Hadley – Apennine region.

·         Installing and activating moon surface scientific experiments.

·         Operated moon orbital experiment.

·         Evaluated new Apollo equipment.

·         Photographic task.

Apollo 16

16 April 1972

·         Sampled materials and features at Descartes region was inspected and surveyed.

·         Emplaced and activated surface experiment.

·         Conducted in – flight experiment.

·         Photographic task.

Apollo 17

7 December 1972

·         Surveyed geologically and took sample of materials and surface features at selected area on Taurus – Littrow region.

·         Deployed and activated surface experiments.

·         Conduct in – flight experiment.

·         Photographic task.


Writer : Ainie Mardia
UPM Intern Student (2020)