How many Apollo missions were there

The Apollo program

The conquest of space took place in several stages. America won the spectacular climax - the landing of the first man on the moon

The vision of the moon landing

"I believe that our nation should pledge to take a man to the moon and safely back to earth before the end of this decade," John F. Kennedy announced to the US Congress on May 25, 1961. By then the Americans had already lost the first chapter of space travel. In the prestigious race for supremacy in space they had been defeated by the Soviet Union for the second time: in 1957 the Russians launched the first satellite with the "Sputnik", and in 1961 they finally brought the first human into space: the cosmonaut Jurij Gagarin.

The vision of the moon landing

In 1965, the Russian astronaut Alexei Leonov undertook the first human space walk aboard the Vozhod 2. The dominance of the Soviet Union in space appeared overwhelming. Kennedy had to react and gave his country a vision: the landing of man on the moon. The "Apollo" program was created to fulfill this dream. At the heart of NASA's ambitious plans was the development of a powerful launch vehicle that was able to escape gravity and catapult a manned spacecraft into space. "No space project will make more of an impression on the whole of humanity and be more important for the long-term conquest of space," said Kennedy optimistically in 1961.

Saturn v

When developing the launch vehicle, NASA used the knowledge of the German Air Force. A huge rocket was created under the direction of Wernher von Braun: the "Saturn V". With a height of over 110 meters, it is still the largest rocket in the world today. The three-stage carrier system with a thrust of 160 million hp had a takeoff weight of over 2,880 tons and reached a top speed of 39,000 km / h. The "Saturn" was able to transport the astronauts to the moon in 60 hours.

The Apollo spaceship

The Apollo spacecraft consisted of three components. In addition to the command module, there was also the service module and the lunar module. The instruments to control the lunar spaceship were located in the command module. This is where the astronauts slept and ate. The service module contained the electrical systems, life support and the communication center. The main engine and fuel tank were also located here. The lunar landing unit with space for two astronauts was able to land on the lunar surface and then return to the command module.

The Apollo Missions

Twelve test flights were planned before the first astronaut was to set foot on the moon. The Apollo program began in 1967 with the Apollo 1 and ended in 1972 with the Apollo 17. NASA celebrated the greatest successes of the Apollo series with the Apollo 8 as the first manned orbit around the moon and the Apollo 11 as the first moon landing. After six successful moon landings, the American enthusiasm for the Apollo program gradually faded in the early 1970s. President Nixon therefore cut the budget of the space agency, so that only 17 of the originally planned 20 Apollo missions were realized. The "Skylab" program followed in 1973, and the first space shuttle finally started in 1981.

The Apollo program with its 17 missions employed around half a million people and cost more than $ 20 billion. The scientific significance of the moon landings may still be considered controversial today. A victory can no longer be taken from the space program: Millions of people fulfilled the dream of "Man on the moon".

Here it goes back to the overview page: