The Apollo Missions

The dimensions of the Saturn V rocket which carried our astronauts to the moon were extraordinary, and no rocket has ever been built since then with such power. The fully loaded Saturn V stood 363 feet tall, weighed 2800 tons, and generated 160,000,000 horsepower. The rocket assembly building at the cape in Florida is the largest building in the world. Everything associated with this rocket was huge. Even the crawler transport that moved the rocket from the assembly building to the launch pad was huge. In the movie, "Apollo 13," they show a scene where Jim Lovell learns that Ken Mattingly is susceptible to measles. Jim is standing next to the Army tank-like tread of the transport and he is dwarfed by the tread. I have heard that each tread piece weighed 2 tons, and there were 92 pieces per tread, and 8 treads on the transport! The entire rocket was assembled within this building, on top of the launch platform, and this was all on a giant tractor. The entire complex was then slowly moved out to the launch area. The tractor was called, "The Crawler Transport," because that is exactly what it did. It crawled to the launch area at 1 mile per hour, and returned empty at a tope speed of 2 miles per hour.

Here are a few pictures of the Cape area. Below and left is the Vehicle Assembly Building. This is where the rocket and launch platforms are assembled. Click on the image for detailed information of this incredibly huge building. The crawler transport is shown with the Shuttle. Click on the image to learn the details about this tractor that burns 150 gallons of fuel per mile! The image to your lower right is that of Apollo 17 at the launch site at night. Click on the image to access 9000 NASA photographs from the various missions that went into space.

It is my hope to include video directly into these webpages, but I am not all that great at this form of technology. Besides, why bother when NASA can do a better job. To see a series of videos related to the NASA Apollo missions, including mission 9, 10, and 11, just click on the link within this sentence.

Click on the image above to see more detail. This might take awhile to load on a dial-up connection.

The launch of the Saturn V rocket is shown to your left. The actual capsule that housed the three men is barely visible at the very top of the rocket. I cannot even begin to imagine the thrill of being in a spacecraft during a rocket launch. And, I marvel that more people with the wherewithal do not share my interest. If I was Bill Gates, I most certainly would spend $2 billion of my fortune and build my own space shuttle and go into space. Engineers at NASA had worked for so many years on the design of this Apollo capsule, and the maiden voyage of Apollo 1 was a source of great anticipation.

 

 

 

Tragedy struck in 1967 during a prelaunch test of the Apollo I mission. Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were on board the spacecraft, doing a routine series of checks when a spark ignited within the capsule, incinerating all three astronauts before anyone could open the door and let them out. The spacecraft was redesigned and the program set back 18 months. To read more about this tragedy, click on the image of the crew.

 

 

 

 

The first people to successfully leave the earth’s gravitational influence and be under the influence of another body in the solar system ... the moon were Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and John Anders, launching December 21, 1968. On Christmas Eve, 1968, they made 10 orbits around the moon and scoped out landing sites for the Apollo 11 crew. To learn more about this mission, click on the image of the crew.

 

 

 

 

 

The Apollo 11 astronauts were Mike Collins, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin. They launched July 16, 1969, and Neil and Buzz walked on the Sea of Tranquility during the evening of July 20, 1969. Mike Collins had to stay in lunar orbit while Neil and Buzz got to run around on the moon. Actually, these two men had to learn a special walk-hop in order to properly handle the lighter lunar gravity and not fall under the awkward air-conditioning units on their backs. To see a detailed account of the mission, click on the image of the crew. To see video of Armstrongs first steps, click here.

 

 

 

*There was a computer malfunction, they missed the landing site, almost crashed into lunar boulders, and had less than 15 seconds of fuel remaining when the Eagle finally landed. I was taping the televised broadcasts on a reel-to-reel audio tape recorder, and will never forget the fascination of watching two men frolic on the moon. REM claims that we never landed anyone on the Moon. While there is a growing fascination with the moon hoax, there is absolutely no real credible evidence to prove otherwise. For America to fake the moon landing would have been information well-known to the Soviets, who had spies within the NASA program. They would have pressed ahead despite their moon launch explosion and tried again. You can believe what you want, but I am quite certain Neil and Buzz left their footprints on the moon.

These pictures which you have just looked at are just a few of those available when you click on the Apollo site. I have included them here for their significance. To see the other Apollo missions, move forward to Apollo 12-17.

Please move forward to Apollo 12-17, back to Apollo 1-11, or return to the Syllabus.


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