Moonwalker: The NASA Missions & Its Astronauts Who’ve Successfully Walked on The Moon
Mankind was able to witness human beings walk across the Moon’s surface thanks to the Apollo missions that took place between 1968 until 1972. The Apollo missions successfully sent 24 American astronauts to the Moon during those years, and 12 of them were able to set foot on the Moon’s surface. This achievement definitely opened new doors and set new goals for humanity’s thirst to know more about space.
In this article, we’ll list down the different Apollo missions between 1968 and 1972. We’ll also list down the Astronauts who were able to walk on the Moon. Through this article, you’ll see that “moonwalking” is more than just an iconic dance move!
Apollo 11: Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin
After the national challenge and goal set by former President John F. Kennedy, the Apollo 11 was able to deliver a historic feat. The Apollo 11 was the lunar mission that successfully sent humans to the Moon. The crew of this iconic mission was Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins. Out of the three, only two (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin) were able to nab the credit as the first men to walk on the Moon.
The Apollo 11 mission launched on July 16, 1969, from Cape Kennedy. Around 650 million people were able to witness the launch. The televised coverage continued until the lunar landing. On July 20, 1969, the iconic phrase “…one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” was heard all over the world as Armstrong became the first man to step on the Moon.
Apollo 12: Charles “Pete” Conrad & Alan Bean
The Apollo 12 mission was the second lunar mission that successfully delivered humans to the Moon. Its primary objective was to conduct several tests and deliver and deploy the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. Also known as the ALSEP, it was a module that was to be left on the Moon to gather seismic, scientific, and essential engineering data for a long time.
Without a doubt, the objectives of this Apollo mission was once again overshadowed by the feat of sending humans to the Moon. The Apollo 12 was the second mission in which humans were able to walk around the Moon’s surface. This time, Charles “Pete” Conrad and Alan Bean received credit as the third and fourth humans to walk on the lunar surface.
Apollo 14: Alan B. Shepard Jr & Edgar Mitchell
The Apollo 14 is the third NASA mission that was successful in making another lunar landing. The mission was also known as “Shepard’s back in space” as it was spearheaded by mission commander Alan B. Shepard Jr. The primary objective of this lunar mission was to explore the Fra Mauro region that surrounded the ALSEP package. The mission’s goal was also to gather surface material samples to be analyzed back on Earth.
Once again, NASA astronauts were able to walk across the surface of the Moon. This time, it was mission commander Alan B. Shepard Jr. and Edgar D. Mitchell who took credit for this moonwalk.
Apollo 15: David R. Scott & James B. Irwin
The Apollo 15 was a lunar mission that took place between the four-year window of NASA’s crewed lunar missions. Apollo 15 successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, and the launch was a bit late to a minuscule degree; it was 187 milliseconds off schedule. Like the previous successful human-crewed lunar missions, it also had several objectives, most of which were focused on learning more about the Moon’s surface.
Through Apollo 15, NASA successfully sent humans into the lunar surface for another chance to do a moonwalk. This time, astronauts David R. Scott and James B. Irwin successfully walked across the Moon’s surface. They’ve also managed to complete all of the mission objectives, which were set back to Earth.
Apollo 16: John W. Young & Charles M. Duke
Apollo 16 was one of the last two NASA missions that sent humans to the Moon’s surface. NASA engineers recognized the urgency of the situation and set three primary objectives. The first one was to inspect, survey, and bring sample materials and surface features from the Descartes region of the moon. The astronauts in this mission also did surface experiments and conducted in-flight experiments from lunar orbit.
The Apollo 16 successfully lifted off back on April 16, 1972, with a three-person crew. Out of the three, John W. Young and Charles M. Duke took credit for walking across the Moon’s surface. They were also successful in carrying out the mission’s objectives, and were able to bring valuable knowledge, experience, and samples back to Earth.
Apollo 17: Harrison H. Schmitt
The Apollo 17 was the last human-crewed NASA mission that brought humans to the Moon. Like all of the previous Apollo missions, it also had mission objectives focused on exploring the Moon’s surface. This time, the Apollo 17 landed on the Taurus-Littrow highlands and valley.
Apollo 17 launched from Earth in Dec. 7, 1972. The mission was unique as it only featured one Astronaut who set foot on the Moon’s surface. This time, it was Harrison Schmitt. Schmitt also took credit as the first scientist-astronaut to land on the Moon.
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