Saturn Apollo Program



Washington, DC, United States

The Apollo 11 mission launched from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida via the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) developed Saturn V launch vehicle on July 16, 1969 and safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. Aboard the space craft were astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, Command Module (CM) pilot; and Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module (LM) pilot. With the success of Apollo 11, the national objective to land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth had been accomplished. These sketches illustrate the steps taken by the astronauts to return to Earth. The service propulsion system engine was fired to increase space craft speed enough to escape Lunar orbit on a trajectory for Earth. Any necessary midcourse corrections were made enroute. Near the point of reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, the CM separated from the service module and turned 180 degrees so the heat shield faced forward on the line of flight. Friction of the atmosphere heated the shield to a white hot temperature, as a meteor, which slowed the craft as it reached lower altitudes. At about three miles altitude, drogue parachutes opened to stabilize the craft. Moments later the main parachutes opened to lower the CM to the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Helicopters and recovery crews from the U.S. S. Hornet aircraft carrier were standing by to pick up the astronauts.

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  • Title: Saturn Apollo Program
  • Date Created: 1969-07-06
  • Rights: MSFC
  • Album: rlobrie1