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Project Apollo

This photo shows Astronaut James Irwin saluting the American Flag during his Apollo 15 moonwalk.  The lithograph has been signed for me by all 12 men who have walked on the Moon.
Photo Credit: NASA  Image Copyright: EarthToTheMoon.com

Jim Irwin Saluting The American Flag On The MoonProject Apollo was the final leg in the race for the Moon.  The previous two legs in the race, Project Mercury, and Gemini were smashing successes.

The Soviet Union who had an early lead in the race with Vostok and Voskhod seemed to have fallen behind after Gemini V wrested the manned spaceflight duration record from them.

The learning process about spaceflight was not completed with the Gemini program.  Many more details and procedures would need to be worked out before a Moon landing could be attempted.

Project Apollo brought two new types of spacecraft.  One spacecraft was dedicated solely for landing on the surface of the Moon and returning the astronauts back into lunar orbit. This spacecraft was called the Lunar Module (LM).

The second spacecraft would remain in orbit while the Lunar Module landed on the Moon.  The orbital vehicle was called the Command Service Module (CSM).  The Command Module (CM) is the spacecraft that would bring the crew back to Earth after their mission was completed.

Project Apollo would also bring two new types of rocket launchers.  It would take an incredible amount of power to send a spacecraft from the Earth to the Moon.

The first launcher type that would fly would be the Saturn 1-B.  This two-stage rocket would be used to test out the Apollo Command Service Module configuration in Earth orbit.

The second launcher type was the mighty Saturn V.  The first stage of this three-stage vehicle would produce a thrust of 7.5 million pounds.  All of this power was needed to launch the spacecraft that would leave the bounds of Earth orbit and reach the Moon.

UPDATED : January 9, 2007
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