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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.

55 Years Ago: Four Months Until the Moon Landing
21 min read

The road to the Moon landing cleared a major hurdle in March 1969 with the flight of Apollo 9 that…

55 Years Ago: Five Months Until the Moon Landing
11 min read

Following the success of the Apollo 8 circumlunar mission, NASA believed that it could achieve a Moon landing by the…

55 Years Ago: President Nixon Establishes Space Task Group to Chart Post-Apollo Plans
8 min read

In early 1969, the goal set by President John F. Kennedy to land a man on the Moon seemed within…