The Apollo program was the first to bring humans to the moon.
Even though the program began in the early 1960s until 1972, with 12 astronauts walking the moon’s surface during this time frame, there are two missions in particular that usually stick out among the others; Apollo 11 and Apollo 13.
Apollo 11 remains one of the most famous flights since it was the first to successfully land on the moon. Apollo 13 never made it to the moon as it was intended, but still marked a historic flight for the space program.
While the crew of three were on their journey to their intended destination, there was an oxygen tank explosion on Apollo 13, which could have ended in disaster.
Even though Apollo 13 never made it to the moon, it did make it back to Earth with all three crew members surviving the nearly tragic event.
Although these two particular missions are widely remembered, the entire program was a historical one.
Below are other stand out missions that were a part of the Apollo program.
The first test flight in the Apollo program ended in tragedy.
On Jan. 27, 1967, Apollo 1 was set up for a launch rehearsal test at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee made up the first crew in the Apollo program. The three were scheduled to launch on Feb. 21 of that year for a flight that would orbit Earth.
There was a fire on the launchpad during the test that resulted in the deaths of all three astronauts inside. The program was put on hold due to the accident.
Apollo 7 was the first mission since Apollo 1 that contained a crew.
Walter “Wally” Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter “Walt” Cunningham were on board Apollo 7, the first to successfully make it into space and conduct an Earth orbit test.
Apollo 7 launched on Oct. 11, 1968, for a mission that lasted almost 11 days.
This flight was also historic as the first to be broadcast live on television.
This mission marked the first to orbit the moon. This meant that Apollo 8 took humans farther into space than anyone else had gone before.
This flight took off on Dec. 21, 1968 and returned to Earth on Dec. 27.
Astronauts Frank Borman, James “Jim” Lovell and William “Bill” Anders all took turns reading from the Book of Genesis during a live Christmas Eve broadcast, as they spent their holiday up in space.
Anders also took the famous “Earthrise” photograph during this mission.
The main purpose of this mission was to test out the first crewed lunar module, nicknamed “Spider,” which would carry astronauts to the moon’s surface. The Apollo 9 crew were able to perform a series of maneuvers and tests before astronauts would actually go to the moon’s surface.
James McDivitt, David Scott and Russell Schweickart were the crew on this spacecraft, who tested the pivotal craft for lunar landing.
Apollo 10 was pretty much a complete runthrough of getting to the moon’s surface, as Apollo 11 soon would, without actually reaching it.
Apollo 10 got within nine miles of the moon’s surface. The crew took pictures and gathered information about the landing sites for Apollo 11. This mission began on May 18, 1969 and ended on May 26. After the success of Apollo 10, Apollo 11 soon followed, taking off just a couple of months later, on July 16, 1969.
After this initial moon landing flight, Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 all successfully completed moon landings. During each of these missions, the 12 total astronauts who walked the moon’s surface were able to conduct research as well as collect moon rocks to bring back to Earth.
Apollo 17 marked the last of the Apollo missions. This mission ran from Dec. 7-19, 1972.
This crew of Eugene “Gene” Cernan, Harrison “Jack” Schmitt and Ronald Evans spent the most time on the surface of the moon. Cernan and Schmitt were the last humans to walk the moon’s surface.
Since the Apollo program, there have not been any more human landings on the moon.
NASA does intend for astronauts to return to the moon by 2025 with the Artemis program.