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Astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon facing a U.S. flag

The Apollo Program

“That’s one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind.” Neil Armstrong



Lunar Landing Missions


Crewed Missions

Astronauts on the moon

Official Portrait of Astronaut Neil Armstrong

Commander for Apollo 11, first to step on the lunar surface.

Portrait of Buzz Aldrin

Apollo 11, Lunar Module Pilot

Portrait of Charles Conrad, Jr.

Apollo 12, Commander

Portrait of Alan Bean

Apollo 12, Lunar Module Pilot

Portrait of Alan Shepard

Apollo 14, Commander

Portrait of  Edgar Mitchell

Apollo 14, Lunar Module Pilot

Portrait of David Scott

Apollo 15, Commander

Portrait of James Irwin

Apollo 15, Lunar Module Pilot

Portrait of John Young

Apollo 16, Commander

Portrait of Charles M. Duke, Jr.

Apollo 16, Lunar Module Pilot

Portrait of Eugene Cernan

Apollo 17, Commander

Portrait of Harrison H. Schmitt

Apollo 17, Lunar Module Pilot

Apollo’s Goals

The national effort that enabled Astronaut Neil Armstrong to speak those words as he stepped onto the lunar surface fulfilled a dream as old as humanity. Project Apollo’s goals went beyond landing Americans on the moon and returning them safely to Earth. They included:

  • Establishing the technology to meet other national interests in space.
  • Achieving preeminence in space for the United States.
  • Carrying out a program of scientific exploration of the Moon.
  • Developing human capability to work in the lunar environment.

Rocket and Spacecraft

The flight mode, lunar orbit rendezvous, was selected in 1962. The boosters for the program were the Saturn IB for Earth orbit flights and the Saturn V for lunar flights.

Apollo was a three-part spacecraft: the command module (CM), the crew’s quarters and flight control section; the service module (SM) for the propulsion and spacecraft support systems (when together, the two modules are called CSM); and the lunar module (LM), to take two of the crew to the lunar surface, support them on the Moon, and return them to the CSM in lunar orbit.

All Apollo Articles

Learn more about the selection of Apollo astronauts, development of the Apollo spacecraft, details about each of the missions, and much more.

60 Years Ago: First Test Firing of the Apollo Service Propulsion System

4 min read

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy committed the United States to landing a man on the Moon and returning him…


The Hard-won Triumph of the Apollo 13 Mission – 45 Years Later

5 min read

When their spaceship was severely damaged 200,000 miles from Earth – 45 years ago this week, it was like a…


60 Years Ago: Apollo Parachute Development and Testing

5 min read

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy committed the United States to landing a man on the Moon and returning him…