Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Astronaut / Cosmonaut part VI

Apollo program
The Apollo program was the third human spaceflight program carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United States' civilian space agency. First conceived during the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower as a three-man spacecraft to follow the one-man Project Mercury which put the first Americans in space, Apollo was later dedicated to President John F. Kennedy's national goal of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" by the end of the 1960s, which he proposed in a May 25, 1961 address to Congress. Project Mercury was followed by the two-man Project Gemini (1962–66). The first manned flight of Apollo was in 1968 and it succeeded in landing the first humans on Earth's Moon in 1969 through 1972.

Apollo 14
Apollo 14 was the eighth manned mission in the United States Apollo program, and the third to land on the Moon. It was the last of the "H missions", targeted landings with two-day stays on the Moon with two lunar EVAs, or moonwalks.

Commander Alan Shepard, Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa, and Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell launched on their nine-day mission on January 31, 1971 at 4:04:02 pm local time after a 40 minute, 2 second delay due to launch site weather restrictions, the first such delay in the Apollo program. Shepard and Mitchell made their lunar landing on February 5 in the Fra Mauro formation; this had originally been the target of the aborted Apollo 13 mission. During the two lunar EVAs, 42 kilograms (93 lb) of Moon rocks were collected and several surface experiments, including seismic studies, were performed. Shepard famously hit two golf balls on the lunar surface with a makeshift club he had brought from Earth. Shepard and Mitchell spent about 33 hours on the Moon, with about 9½ hours on EVA.

Shepard and Mitchell named their landing site Fra Mauro Base, and this designation is recognized by the International Astronomical Union (depicted in Latin on lunar maps as Statio Fra Mauro).
Shepard's first words, after stepping onto the lunar surface were, "And it's been a long way, but we're here." Unlike Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11 and Pete Conrad on Apollo 12, Shepard had already stepped off the LM footpad and was a few yards (meters) away before he spoke.

While Shepard and Mitchell were on the surface, Roosa remained in lunar orbit aboard the Command/Service Module, performing scientific experiments and photographing the Moon. He took several hundred seeds on the mission, many of which were germinated on return resulting in the so-called Moon trees. 
Shepard, Roosa, and Mitchell landed in the Pacific Ocean on February 9.

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