The Apollo Missions

History and Purpose

What was the main purpose of the Apollo Missions?

  • The main purpose of the Apollo missions were for humans to travel to the moon and gather information about it.

  • Once they landed, astronauts gathered rocks, explored the area, took pictures, and conducted a large variety of experiments on heat flow, seismic waves, the magnetic field, and other characteristics about the moon.

  • Some missions were unimportant and without astronauts because they were just meant to orbit the moon or test the lunar modules.

History of the Manned Apollo Flights

Apollo 1 1-27-1967

  • The first Apollo mission was not successful because a fire occurred during the preflight test in the command module, killing the three astronauts at Cape Kennedy.

  • The astronauts names were Virgil Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee

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Apollo 7 10-11-1968


  • The missions purpose was to test the command module, service module, and crew performance in space.

  • The crew members were Walter Schirra Jr, R. Walter Cunningham, and Donn F. Eisele.

  • Apollo 7 mission ended after 10 days on 10-22-1968.

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Apollo 8 12-21-1968

  • In this mission the astronauts orbited the moon, demonstrated translunar injection, tested the command and service module, etc.

  • The main purpose of the mission was to improve the procedures for upcoming lunar flights.

  • The crew members are Frank Burman, William A. Anders, and James A. Lovell Jr.

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Apollo 9 3-3-1969

  • The main goal of this flight was to test the first lunar module’s capabilities.

  • Another important objective that was met in this mission was the docking and rendezvous of the Command Service Module and the Lunar Module.

  • The crew members of this mission were James A. McDivitt, Russell L. Schweickart, David R. Scott.

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Apollo 10 5-18-1969

  • This mission served as a practice for the actual moon landing and included all of the necessary objectives for a crewed landing, except the actual landing.

  • Some of the objectives were completing an 8 hour orbit of the Lunar Module, dropping down nine miles up the moon’s surface with the Command Service Module, and correcting any mistakes in the Lunar Module trajectories.

  • The crew members were Thomas Stafford, Eugene Cernan, and John Young.

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Apollo 11 7-16-1969

  • The most famous Apollo mission, a crewed Lunar landing was successful in Apollo 11, accomplishing the goal set by JFK on 5-25-1961.

  • Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon was recorded and watched by 530 million people in the USA.

  • The crew members of this flight were Neil Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin Jr, and Michael Collins

First Moon Landing 1969

Apollo 12 11-14-1969

  • The main objective of this mission was to gather more information by having a second landing on the moon.

  • One of the important gadgets that helped them find data was the ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package)

  • The names of the astronauts were Charles Conrad Jr, Alan L. Bean, and Richard F. Gordon Jr.

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Apollo 13 4-1-1970

  • Known as ” The Successful Failure”, although the flight did not land on the moon due to an oxygen tank rupture and other problems, the astronauts came back home and survived against all odds.

  • The three main concerns after the rupture of the oxygen tank were the high amount of carbon dioxide, electricity, and water supply.

  • The crew members James A. Lovell Jr, Fred W. Haise Jr, and John L. Swigert Jr landed safely in the Pacific Ocean on 4-17-1970.

Apollo 14 1-31-1971

  • The main task of the Apollo 14 mission was to successfully land in the Fra Mauro region of the moon and deploy another ALSEP package.

  • Other scientific experiments and photos were also conducted.

  • The crew members on this mission were Alan B. Shepard Jr, Edgar D. Mitchell, Stuart A. Roosa.

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Apollo 15 7-26-1971

  • This mission was unique compared to the other moon landings because the astronauts had stayed on the moon for a longer period of time and landed in the Hadley-Apennine area of the moon which was a new area to NASA.

  • A couple new achievements were accomplished in the Apollo 15 mission such as the longest lasting Apollo mission, first usage of Lunar rovers, and most weight carried in lunar orbit.

  • The crew members were David R. Scott, James B. Irwin, and Alfred M. Worden.

Apollo 16 4-16-1972

  • The main purpose of this mission was to land on the Descartes region of the moon and explore that area.

  • One of the most important tests on the Apollo 16 mission were on the Lunar Rovers maneuvering capabilities.

  • The crew members were John W. Young, Charles M. Duke Jr, and Thomas K. Mattingly II.

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Apollo 17 12-7-1972

  • The goal of this mission was to successfully land in the Taurus-Littrow highlands on the moon.

  • The AlSEP package was used in this mission along with a variety of other experiments on the lunar surface, heat flow, geological characteristics, and gravity.

  • The crew members were Eugene A. Cernan, Harrison H. Schmitt, and Ronald E. Evans.

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Why did the Apollo Missions end?

  • Budget Restrictions

  • All necessary objectives were achieved.


“They’d accomplished everything they were trying to do… Apollo was a proof that the United States was a leader in technology in space. That was the big gain. (John Schuessler, NASA Engineer)


However... some conspiracy theorists believe there are other reasons why NASA has not explored the moon since the 1970's.