Apollo Program Essay Research Paper IINTRODUCTION

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Apollo Program Essay, Research Paper IINTRODUCTION Apollo Program, American manned lunar-space program designed to land an astronaut on the moon and return him safely to earth, as well as to overtake the former Soviet Union in the race to dominate space exploration. Conducted between May 1961 and December 1972 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the program successfully landed Neil Armstrong-the first person to walk on the moon-and 11 other astronauts on the moon. The program included 12 manned missions: 2 into earth orbit (Apollo 7 and 9); 2 into lunar orbit (Apollo 8 and 10); 3 lunar landing missions (Apollo 11, 12, and 14); and 3 lunar exploration missions (Apollo 15, 16, and 17), which involved extended stays on the moon’s surface and more in

depth scientific exploration. One mission was lost during a test on the launch pad (Apollo 1), and one mission returned to the earth before making a scheduled lunar landing (Apollo 13). Following the Apollo program, Apollo spacecraft were used to shuttle astronauts to and from the Skylab space station, and an Apollo spacecraft docked with the orbiting Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 19 in the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. The Apollo program was initiated by United States President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961. It was preceded by the manned Gemini program, which engineers used to develop the techniques that would be needed for the ambitious trip to the moon, and the unmanned Surveyor Program, which scientists used to probe the lunar surface. At the peak of Apollo preparations in 1965,

NASA employed 36,000 civil servants, 376,700 contractor employees, and a yearly operating budget of $5.2 billion. Between 1961 and 1973, NASA spent approximately $25.4 billion on the Apollo missions. During the same time period, the Soviet Union scheduled a manned mission to circle the moon (Zond 7)-just three weeks before Apollo 8. This mission was postponed and the spacecraft was later launched unmanned. The Soviets continued to develop and test their one-man Lunar Lander spacecraft in the earth’s orbit through August 1971, but a Soviet cosmonaut never reached the moon. IISPACECRAFT AND SUPPORTING SYSTEMS Each manned Apollo mission consisted of two spacecraft: the Command and Service Module (CSM) designed for orbital and reentry operations; and the Lunar Module (LM) designed

for lunar landing, surface operations, ascent from the moon, and rendezvous with the CSM. The exceptions were Apollo 7 and 8, which flew the CSM only. The CSM comprised the command module, with the crew compartment and the reentry heat shield, and the service module, with the major support systems and consumables (such as propulsion systems, electrical power, food, and water). The LM comprised the descent stage, for landing and delivery of the lunar-surface equipment, and the ascent stage, with the crew compartment and independent systems for ascent from the moon’s surface and rendezvous with the CSM. Apollo missions used a crew of three astronauts. During launch, all three astronauts were in the CSM. After leaving the earth’s orbit, the crew separated the CSM from the LM and

the part of the launch vehicle surrounding the LM, then maneuvered the CSM to dock with the LM to extract the LM from the launch vehicle so that the crew could transfer between the two craft. After three days transit time to the moon, the CSM and LM entered into lunar orbit. Two astronauts then transferred to the LM, separated from the CSM, and descended to the lunar surface. The third astronaut continued to operate the CSM in lunar orbit. ALaunch System The launch vehicle used for lunar missions was the Saturn V rocket designed specifically for Apollo craft. The Saturn launch vehicle family and the design of its support facilities were derived from technology developed by rocket engineer Wernher von Braun and his team at Peenem nde, Germany, during World War II. Von Braun