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History: NASA archive photography

History: NASA Archive Photography

Even though the Gemini project managed to make a docking a year before the Soviet space program, it was too early to call it a victory. The maneuvers practiced by Gemini could be used in two ways: a spacecraft could dock with a rocket stage in orbit around the Earth and use it for going to the Moon or a spacecraft together with a Moon lander could be sent to the Moon by a single rocket and then separate and dock again after the lander had been down on the surface. However, there was a third and more direct way of going to the Moon; the Soviet Union could just build a big rocket and land the top of it on the Moon. That again could take itself back to Earth without using rendezvous or docking. In that case the Gemini project would have been a waste of time.
- Apollo program (1961–1972, manned missions from 1968)
The Apollo (Moon) program was one of the most expensive American scientific programs ever. It is estimated to have cost $202 billion in present day US$. In comparison the Manhattan (atom bomb) project cost roughly today-US$25.8 billion. It used the Saturn rockets as launch vehicles, which were far bigger than the rockets build for previous projects. The spacecraft was also bigger as can be seen on the picture; it had two main parts: the combined command and service module (CSM) and the lunar landing module (LM). The LM was to be left on the Moon and only the command module (CM) containing the astronauts would eventually return to Earth.
The second manned mission, Apollo 8, brought astronauts for the first time in a flight around the Moon. This happened in December 1968. Shortly before, the Soviet had sent an unmanned spacecraft around the Moon but they never managed to do more than that. On the next two missions docking maneuvers that were needed for the Moon landing were practiced and then finally the Moon landing was made on the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. In 1961 President Kennedy had introduced the Apollo Program and set the deadline for a successful Moon landing at the end of the same decade. It was done by a narrow margin.

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Keywords:#history #nasa #archive #photography
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Date added:Mar 07, 2013
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