National and The Program • Administration ' National Aeronautics and The Space Administration •

The Apollo Program, begun in 1961 as a response to The six Apollo lunar landings, during which 12 as­ these were either necessary preparations for the Apollo the challenge of Soviet space activities, rapidly became tronauts lived, in pairs, on the for as long as 3 Program, or later efforts using Apollo and the backbone of the American space program. Its origi­ days, were extraordinarily productive. car­ launch . The -orbiting elements of the nal objective was to land a man on the Moon and return ried out extensive remote-sensing surveys from lunar "broader" Apollo Program were extremely productive. him to Earth before the end of the decade. At the time that in themselves would have been major scien­ Earth terrain photography from the Gemini mission, for President proposed the Apollo Program, the tific accomplishments. The landings permitted the example, eventually lead to Landsat. Radar altimetry had achieved only one manned space sampling of rocks and soils far beyond that possible from mapped the gravitationally-determined flight-'s IS-minute suborbital ­ with unmanned sample return missions; these sample shape of the surface from space, thus producing indi­ mission. Even the optimistic space en­ are still being productively analyzed using new tech­ rectly the first topographical view of the floor. thusiasts had doubts that the President's goal could be niques developed in the decades since the samples The Apollo- mission demonstrated -satellite met. An entire new space had to be devel­ were collected. The astronauts emplaced six complex tracking, a valuable technique used to map Earth's grav­ oped-a technology that included orbital rendezvous, geophysical observatories that operated for years; in fact, ity field. extravehicular activities, -powered landings, the emplaced with the observatories The total cost of the Apollo Program was $25 billion, and deep space navigation, among others. Further­ are still being used for Earth-based astronomical mea­ spent between 1962 and 1972. The program is generally more, in 1961, knowledge about the lunar surface was surements. agreed to have been the supreme technological achieve­ of the most nature, based completely on Earth­ The Apollo Program was the central element of a ment of a millennium now drawing to a close, a unifying based astronomical studies and radar. No features much broader space initiative that included the Gemini, experience for the human race, and the beginning of smaller than a kilometer could be resolved, and one Lunar , Skylab, and Apollo-Soyuz programs. All humanity's expansion into the universe. school of thought believed the maria to be deep pits filled with electrostatically supported dust into which astronauts might sink. Fast Facts Significant Dates The Apollo Program was nevertheless approved, and development of the family of launch vehicles, Namesake: Apollo-Greek God of Prophecy, 1961- President John F. Kennedy proposed that the spacecraft, and a deep-space tracking network began. , Poetry, and Music U.s. land a man on the Moon and return him The 10 missions of the manned Gemini Program were Lunar Mission: Three Circumlunar (no landing); before the end of the decade invaluable in learning how humans could operate in 1965 - First manned Gemini mission; demonstrated Six Landings space. The unmanned Ranger series included three suc­ two-man spacecraft, propulsion, and radar Samples Returned: 385 Kilograms of Rock and Soil; cessful hard-landing missions, which produced the 1968 - First manned Apollo mission; Earth orbit, 11 first high-resolution views of the lunar surface. A Soil Includes Implanted Hydro­ days spectacular series of five Lunar Orbiter reconnaissance gen and from the 1968 - First manned flight to Moon, ; 10 or­ missions gave us photographs of almost the entire . bits, no landing Moon; these photos helped to determine Apollo land­ 1969 - First manned landing on Moon, ing sites. In 1966 and 1967, soft-landing Suroeyor space­ 1971 - First manned surface on moon, Apollo craft produced detailed knowledge of the lunar surface, 15 including physical properties and chemical composition. About the Image In 1967, the Apollo Program suffered a major setback. 1972 - Last Apollo mission to Moon, The Apollo 204 spacecraft caught during a ground Harrison ("Jack") Schmitt collects samples of a 1975 - Apollo-Soyuz Test Program, joint Soviet/ test, killing astronauts , , and . Be­ huge boulder in the Moon 's Valley during the American mission cause of this tragedy, spacecraft greatly improved, and Apollo 17 Mission in December 1972. This region is one of rigid safety procedures were developed. By 1968, the the most rugged and scenic visited by the six landings of the first Earth-orbital mission, , was flown, followed Apollo Program . Beyond the large boulder is the flat floor of References within by the first lunar-orbiting mission, Apollo the Littrow Valley, covered by dark mare material (lava I. Apollo Over the Moon: A View from Orbit, NASA SP-362, NASA Headquarters, 8. The mission tested the Lunar Module in flaws) . Beyond the valley are the Taurus Mountains, made Washington, DC. 1978. 2. Apollo Expeditions to the Moon, NASA SP-350, NASA Headquarters, Earth orbit and, tested the Lunar Module in up of older, heavily cratered highland rocks. The Lunar Washington, DC. 1975. , paving the way for the first manned landing Rover, used by the astronauts to explore the surface, is visible 3. Apollo 17 View of the Ea rth, HQL-255, NASA Headquarters, Washington, in . to the right of the rock. DC. HqL-3871194