The Apollo Program (1963 - 1972)

30th Anniversary of Apollo 11 - July, 1999

The Apollo program was designed to land humans on the Moon and bring them safely back to Earth. Six of the missions (Apollos 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17) achieved this goal. Apollos 7 and 9 were Earth orbiting missions to test the Command and Lunar Modules, and did not return lunar data. Apollos 8 and 10 tested various components while orbiting the Moon, and returned photography of the lunar surface. Apollo 13 did not land on the Moon due to a malfunction, but also returned photographs. The six missions that landed on the Moon returned a wealth of scientific data and almost 400 kilograms of lunar samples. Experiments included soil mechanics, meteoroids, seismic, heat flow, lunar ranging, magnetic fields, and solar wind experiments.

Click on the spacecraft name for information about the spacecraft and data held at NSSDCA

Apollo Lunar Missions

Apollo 8

Launched 21 December 1968
Lunar Orbit and Return
Returned to Earth 27 December 1968

Apollo 10

Launched 18 May 1969
Lunar Orbit and Return
Returned to Earth 26 May 1969

Apollo 11

Launched 16 July 1969
Landed on Moon 20 July 1969
Sea of Tranquility
Returned to Earth 24 July 1969

Apollo 12

Launched 14 November 1969
Landed on Moon 19 November 1969
Ocean of Storms
Returned to Earth 24 November 1969

Apollo 13

Launched 11 April 1970
Lunar Flyby and Return
Malfunction forced cancellation of lunar landing
Returned to Earth 17 April 1970

Apollo 14

Launched 31 January 1971
Landed on Moon 5 February 1971
Fra Mauro
Returned to Earth 9 February 1971

Apollo 15

Launched 26 July 1971
Landed on Moon 30 July 1971
Hadley Rille
Returned to Earth 7 August 1971

Apollo 16

Launched 16 April 1972
Landed on Moon 20 April 1972
Returned to Earth 27 April 1972

Apollo 17

Launched 07 December 1972
Landed on Moon 11 December 1972
Returned to Earth 19 December 1972

The Apollo mission consisted of a Command Module (CM) and a Lunar Module (LM). The CM and LM would separate after lunar orbit insertion. One crew member would stay in the CM, which would orbit the Moon, while the other two astronauts would take the LM down to the lunar surface. After exploring the surface, setting up experiments, taking pictures, collecting rock samples, etc., the astronauts would return to the CM for the journey back to Earth.

Apollo Crewed Earth Orbiting Missions

Apollo 7

Launched 11 October 1968
First crewed Apollo flight
Splashdown 22 October 1968

Apollo 9

Launched 03 March 1969
First crewed Lunar Module test
Splashdown 13 March 1969

The Apollo 1 Launch Pad Accident

Apollo 1

27 January 1967
Tragic Loss of Three Apollo Astronauts

Apollo/Saturn Uncrewed Earth Orbiting Missions


Launched 29 January 1964
First Block II Saturn launch


Launched 28 May 1964
First Apollo boilerplate model


Launched 18 September 1964
Apollo boilerplate model

SA-9/Pegasus 1

Launched 16 February 1965
Apollo boilerplate model and micrometeoroid satellite

SA-8/Pegasus 2

Launched 25 May 1965
Apollo boilerplate model and micrometeoroid satellite

SA-10/Pegasus 3

Launched 30 July 1965
Apollo boilerplate model and micrometeoroid satellite


Launched 5 July 1966
First S-IVB stage orbital mission

Apollo 4

Launched 9 November 1967
First all-up launch of Saturn V

Apollo 5

Launched 22 January 1968
First test of Lunar Module in space

Apollo 6

Launched 4 April 1968
Final uncrewed Apollo test flight

Apollo/Saturn Uncrewed Suborbital Flights


Launched 27 October 1961
First flight of Saturn 1


Launched 25 April 1962
Project High Water I


Launched 16 November 1962
Project High Water II


Launched 28 March 1963
Engine-out capability test


Launched 26 February 1966
First flight of Saturn 1B


Launched 25 August 1966
Apollo development flight

More details on Apollo lunar landings
Precise positions of LM's and science experiments on the Moon
Impact sites of the Apollo LM's and SIVB's
Where are they now? - A guide to the current locations of the Apollos
The Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicles - Apollo 15, 16, and 17
Lunar home page
The Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Broadcast
30th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission - Images, audio clips, and a brief history.
Lunar Landing Site Map - Map showing landing sites of the Apollo, Luna, and Surveyor missions
The Apollo 11 mission - 25th Anniversary
The Apollo 13 malfunction - Images and information on the accident
The Apollo 14 Moon Trees - Trees grown from seeds brought to the Moon by Apollo 14
The Apollo 15 Hammer/Feather Drop
[*] The Apollo 17 LM liftoff from the Moon (80 K Quicktime movie) and a 1 Mbyte version
Apollos 18, 19, and 20 - The cancelled missions
Restored ALSEP Data - Suprathermal Ion Detector Experiment
Did the Apollo astronauts really land on the Moon?

Chronology of U.S. Astronaut Missions - Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo

Apollo Images - Johnson Space Center
Apollo Lunar Surface Journal - Transcripts of Apollo communications
Apollo Missions - Lunar and Planetary Institute
The Apollo Program - Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Apollo: Mission to the Moon - Kennedy Space Center
Apollo History - Kennedy Space Center
Planetary Materials Curation - Lunar samples at Johnson Space Center
Lunar Module - Spacecraft Assembly and Test Page (No active link, Archived from 27 April 2006)

Apollo Books Online

Apollo Expeditions to the Moon
Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions
Apollo by the Numbers: A Statistical Reference
Apollo Over the Moon: A View From Orbit
Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations
Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft
Apollo: A Retrospective Analysis
The Apollo Spacecraft Chronology, Vol. I - IV
Catalog of Apollo Experiment Operations
An Annotated Bibliography of the Apollo Program
On the Moon with Apollo 16: A Guidebook to the Descartes Region
Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles
Apollo Program Summary Report (PDF Files)
Apollo Preliminary Science Reports
Apollo Press Kits (Kennedy Space Center)
Apollo Scientific Experiments Data Handbook (NSSDCA, PDF File)
ALSEP Termination Report (NSSDCA, PDF FIle)

Dr. David R. Williams,
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Ed Grayzeck,
Last Updated: 16 September 2013, DRW