Apollo 18 through 20 - The Cancelled Missions


There were originally 3 more Apollo missions scheduled to fly to the Moon in the initial Apollo plan, all were cancelled due to budgetary constraints. Apollo 20 was cancelled in January 1970. The flights planned for Apollo 15 and Apollo 19 were cancelled in September, 1970, the remaining missions were then renumbered 15 through 17.

The original recommendations for the missions were:

H-2 (Apollo 13) Fra Mauro
H-3 (Apollo 14) Littrow
H-4 (Apollo 15) Censorinus
J-1 (Apollo 16) Descartes
J-2 (Apollo 17) Marius Hills
J-3 (Apollo 18) Copernicus
J-4 (Apollo 19) Hadley
J-5 (Apollo 20) Tycho

After the failure of Apollo 13 Apollo 14 was rescheduled for Fra Mauro. After the cancellations, the remaining missions were changed to:

J-1 (Apollo 15) Hadley Rille
J-2 (Apollo 16) Descartes
J-3 (Apollo 17) Taurus-Littrow

No crews were officially assigned to the cancelled missions. The normal crew rotation had the backup crew for a mission moving up to become the prime flight crew three missions later. Based on that scenario, the crews for the cancelled missions would have been:

Apollo 18
Richard Gordon, Commander
Vance Brand, Command Module Pilot
Harrison Schmitt, Lunar Module Pilot

Apollo 19
Fred Haise, Commander
William Pogue, Command Module Pilot
Gerald Carr, Lunar Module Pilot

Apollo 20
Charles Conrad, Commander
Paul Weitz, Command Module Pilot
Jack Lousma, Lunar Module Pilot

These are subject to some uncertainty - they are based on the normal rotation but there is no way of knowing if these would have been the actual crews assigned. For example, since Conrad had already been to the Moon, it is thought Stuart Roosa (Apollo 14 Command Module Pilot) would have been assigned the Commander position on Apollo 20.

Harrison Schmitt was reassigned as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 17 after his mission was cancelled, presumably replacing Joe Engle, who was part of the Apollo 14 backup crew (with Cernan and Evans).

Vance Brand went on to fly on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) and command three Shuttle missions. (The ASTP is often referred to as "Apollo 18" although the original Apollo 18 was the planned Moon mission.) Charles Conrad and Paul Weitz were assigned to the first crew to Skylab, Weitz later commanded a shuttle mission. Jack Lousma was on the second Skylab crew and later commanded a shuttle mission, and William Pogue and Gerald Carr were assigned to the third Skylab crew. Joe Engle was Commander of two Shuttle missions.


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Author/Curator:
Dr. David R. Williams, dave.williams@nasa.gov
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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NASA Official: Ed Grayzeck, edwin.j.grayzeck@nasa.gov
Last Updated: 11 December 2003, DRW