The Apollo program

The Apollo program

In July 1960, before the end of the Gemini Program, NASA announced the launch of the Apollo program.

In principle it was a manned trip to locate an appropriate place to land on the Moon. However, the pressures in the space race made this program the definitive project for man to step on our satellite for the first time.

Under the mandate in the United States of President John F. Kennedy, the cold war intensified with the USSR. It was the president himself who in 1961 announced that the US He would send a man to the moon and make him return safe and sound before the end of the decade. The Apollo Program became the center of international attention.

The mythical Apollo 11

On July 20, 1969, with Richard Nixon as president, Apollo 11 landed with two astronauts on board, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Buzz Aldrin. Meanwhile, his companion Michael Collins remained in orbit around the Moon. The first man who stepped on our satellite was Neil Armstrong, a moment that was broadcast to everyone. More than 500 million people saw the man reach the moon.

The Apollo program consisted of several unmanned test missions and 12 manned missions. Among those 12 missions, three were carried out to orbit the Earth (Apollo 7, 9 and Apollo Soyuz); two missions orbited around the Moon (Apollo 8 and 10); a mission had to be aborted (Apollo 13); three missions were canceled for economic reasons (Apollo 18, 19 and 20), and six missions came to moon land.

In total, 12 have been astronauts who have walked on the Moon: Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, Conrad Charles, Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, David Scott, James Irwin, John Young, Charles Duke, Cernan Gene and Harrison Schmitt .

Houston, we have a problem

When the Apollo program missions seemed to have lost interest among the public, Apollo 13 managed to regain worldwide attention. It was the seventh flight that NASA sent to space and the third flight to be landed. The ship took off on April 11, 1970. It was manned by James Novell, John L. "Jack" Swigert and Fred W. Haise. The famous phrase "Houston, we have a problem" that began with the explosion of an oxygen tank, was just the beginning of the many problems the mission had.

Apollo 13, which did not reach the moon, had to fight against limited energy, loss of heat in the cabin, lack of potable water and the urgent need to repair the carbon dioxide extraction system. Despite all these serious mishaps, the Apollo 13 crew managed to return safely to Earth on April 17. An adventure that, naturally, Hollywood turned into a successful movie.

The end of the Apollo program

The Apollo program was terminated in December 1972. Until then, the cost of the missions was around $ 20,443,600,000. In spite of the great investment in personnel and technology, the experience acquired has not served to continue the lunar exploration.

In addition to the rugged flight of Apollo 13, the program had its greatest failure with Apollo 1. It was the first manned mission, but a fire that occurred in pre-flight tests caused the death of the entire crew. Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffe were the only victims of the Apollo program.

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