Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Apollo Program

The Apollo program was a human spaceflight program undertaken by NASA during the years 1961 - 1975 with the goal of conducting manned moon landing missions. President John F. Kennedy announced this goal in 1961, and it was accomplished on July 20, 1969 by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission. Five other Apollo missions also landed astronauts on the Moon, the last one in 1972. These six Apollo spaceflights are the only times humans have landed on another world.
Apollo was the third human spaceflight program undertaken by NASA, the space agency of the United States. It used Apollo spacecraft and Saturn launch vehicles, which were later used for the Skylab program and the joint American-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. These later programs are thus often considered to be part of the overall Apollo program.
The goal of the program as articulated by U.S. President Kennedy, - "...before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth," - was accomplished with only two major failures. The first failure resulted in the deaths of three astronauts, Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, in the Apollo 1 launchpad fire. The second was an in-space explosion on Apollo 13, which badly damaged the spacecraft on the moon ward leg of its journey. The three astronauts aboard narrowly escaped with their lives, thanks to the efforts of flight controllers, project engineers, backup crew members and the skills of the astronauts themselves.
The Apollo program, specifically the lunar landings, are often cited as one of the greatest achievements in human history. As of 2007, there has not been any further human spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit since the last mission in the Apollo program, Apollo 17.

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