On May 25 1961, just twenty days after Alan Shepards fifteen minute sub-orbital flight, President John F. Kennedy said “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.” Eight years later Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon.
Apollo is without a doubt one of the most amazing accomplishments of the human species. By the end of 1972, twenty-four men had travelled a quarter of a million miles from the Earth to the Moon, three made the trip twice, and twelve of them walked on the Moon.
Thousands of photographs, hours of video, and about 841 pounds of Moon rock were returned to Earth by the astronauts. Many scientific experiments, including a laser reflector used to messure the distance between the Earth and Moon, were left on the lunar surface and some of them are still used today.
Apollo wasn’t all about the Moon though. In 1973 the Skylab space station was launched on top of a Saturn V rocket, and in 1975 the United States and Russian docked their Apollo/Soyuz spacecrafts.
- Land a man on the moon and return him safely to the Earth
- Gather lunar rocks and soil samples
- Apollo 14
January 31 – February 9, 1971
Alan Shepard (CDR), Stuart Roosa (CMP), Edgar Mitchell (LMP)