Monday, March 20, 2023

Apollo came before Artemis: How NASA took its first steps towards the Moon


The Apollo program, which was the first and, to this point, only program to put a human on the Moon, came a long way before NASA's Artemis program. The Apollo program and how NASA put humans on the Moon are briefly described in the following.

Time flies by. With the successful completion of the Artemis 1 mission just a year ago, NASA made its first tentative steps toward its return to the Moon. The astronauts who will be traveling with Artemis 2 to the Moon and back will be announced by the space agency next month. In any case, before all of that, the greater part 100 years back, came the Apollo program that took humanity to the Moon interestingly.

In a stirring speech that he gave in 1962 at Rice University, US President John F. Kennedy famously said, "We choose to go to the Moon... We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." This speech was delivered by Kennedy, who was then in office. Neil Armstrong made history on Earth's lone natural satellite on July 20, 1969, less than seven years later.

This was the Apollo program's success, which was the first and thus far only effort to safely land humans on the Moon and return them to Earth. NASA reports that the Apollo program carried out a total of 11 spaceflights beginning in 1961. Six of them brought people to the Moon. Four of them put the tools to the test. And one came to nothing.

At its pinnacle, the program utilized almost a portion of 1,000,000 individuals and took support from more than 20,000 confidential firms and colleges.

The Apollo program contributed to the return of a wealth of scientific data and nearly 400 kilograms of lunar samples in addition to the symbolic act of placing a human on a celestial object that we would otherwise only be able to see and not touch.

During the course of the program, a number of experiments were carried out, some of which dealt with the mechanics of soil, meteoroids, seismicity, heat flow, lunar ranging, magnetic fields, and solar winds.

The Apollo program's brief history and the events of each spaceflight are presented here.

One of the most tragic accidents in the history of human spaceflight occurred on Apollo 1 on January 27, 1967, long before Kennedy gave his well-known speech. This was a disastrous start for the Apollo program. During a preflight test, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee of Apollo 1 perished in a fire at the Apollo Command Module.

They were getting ready for Apollo 1, the first crewed Apollo flight, which was a mission that would orbit the Earth and launch the following month. Although it was commonly referred to as Apollo 1, the mission was officially referred to as Apollo 204. After the catastrophe, it was authoritatively named as Apollo 1 out of appreciation for Grissom, White and Chaffee.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, there was no Apollo 2 or Apollo 3 after Apollo 1. Apollo 4, an uncrewed flight that tested three Saturn V rockets, was the program's next mission. It launched a Command and Service Module (CSM) from Apollo into Earth orbit.

Another unmanned flight, Apollo 5 was intended to test the ascent and descent stages, propulsion systems, restart operations, and the spacecraft structure, among other crucial components of spaceflight.

Apollo 6 was the final test flight to ensure that the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn V launch vehicle were ready for manned missions. It was determined that the mission was only partially successful because of some problems that arose during its course.

The first crewed flight of the Apollo program was Apollo 7. Doll Eisele, Walter Cunningham, and Walter Schirra Jr. were three astronauts who spent 11 days in orbit around the Earth. They put the command module and spacecraft's various parts through their paces during the mission to make sure they worked as intended.

Although Apollo 8 was initially intended to be a test of the lunar module from Earth orbit, NASA made the bold decision to accelerate the mission to the Moon. In some ways, Apollo 8 was very similar to how the upcoming Artemis 2 mission is supposed to go.

The mission safely brought the astronauts back from the moon. On December 21, 1968, astronauts Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman launched, and they spent Christmas in lunar orbit.

The third crewed flight of the Apollo program, Apollo 9 was relatively close to our planet. For ten days, astronauts Russell Schweickart, David Scott, and James McFivitt stayed in Earth orbit and practiced maneuvers that would be used on a lunar mission.

Apollo 10

Apollo 10 got unbelievably near the Moon. Astronauts Thomas Stafford and John W. Young carried out the mission, which was meant to be a sort of practice run for a landing on the Moon. Scouting the location of the Apollo 11 landing, Stafford and Cernan flew as close to the Moon's surface as 16 kilometers.

Apollo 11: 

On July 20, 1969, humans successfully landed on the Moon with the Apollo 11 mission, which culminated years of research, numerous Apollo flights, and a plethora of other related test flights. The commander of the mission, Neil Armstrong, became the first human to walk on the Moon and said the well-known phrase, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Apollo 12 was the second mission to successfully land on the Moon, despite being struck twice by lightning in its first minute of flight. The mission involved astronauts Alan L. Bean, Richard F. Gordon, and Charles Conrad Jr. They demonstrated a precise landing technique that laid the groundwork for subsequent Apollo missions to land in more challenging but crucial to science locations.

Apollo 13

Apollo 13 took off on April 11, 1970 and was intended to be the third human arriving on the Moon. The astronauts who were in charge of the mission were Fred W Haise, John L Swigert, and James A Lovell.

One of the oxygen tanks in the Apollo 13 spacecraft's service module exploded due to a short circuit on the third day of the mission, when the spacecraft was approximately 320,000 kilometers from Earth. As a result, oxygen leaked into space and both oxygen tanks burst. As a result, the planned lunar landing was postponed, and the crew used the lunar module as a lifeboat to get back to Earth.

Apollo 14 On January 31, 1971, the spacecraft Apollo 14 took off with the astronauts Alan Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart Roosa are Shepard infamously smacked two gold balls onto the Moon after completing the third human landing there, setting them permanently.

Apollo 15 The fourth successful human landing on the Moon was completed when Apollo 15 launched on July 26, 1971. It was the first "J series" Apollo mission, according to NASA, with longer surface stays and more extensive science operations than on previous missions. Apollo 15 featured David Scott, James Irwin, and Alfred Woden as astronauts.

John Young, Thomas Mattingly, and Charles Duke were the astronauts on Apollo 16, which took off on April 17, 1972. On the Moon, they landed in the Descartes Formation, which, based on images from the spacecraft's orbit and telescope, was initially thought to be a volcanic formation. However, they came to the conclusion that it was not a volcanic formation based on the samples that were taken from the area.

The sixth and final Apollo mission to land on the Moon was Apollo 17. Harrison Schmitt, Ronald Evans, and astronaut Eugene Cernan made up the Apollo 17 crew. On December 11, 1972, the Apollo 17 lunar module made its first landing on the Moon. For at least 50 years, Cernan and Harrison Schmitt were the last humans to walk on the Moon.

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