'More Confidence Than Ever': Remembering Apollo 9, Launched 50 Years Ago (Part 2)

Balanced on the Lunar Module porch – with one of the footpads visible ‘below’ him – Rusty Schweickart puts the lunar suit through its paces on Apollo 9, 50 years ago, this month. Photo Credit: NASA

Early on 5 March 1969, two men floated through a tunnel from their command ship into a spider-shaped […]

'Not Supposed To Happen': Remembering Apollo 9, 50 Years On (Part 1)

Apollo 9 was tasked with the first manned test-flight of the Command and Service Module (CSM) and Lunar Module (LM) in low-Earth orbit. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

The year 1969 was pivotal in so many ways for humanity. At its dawn, American astronauts had newly returned from circling the Moon, and by […]

Moonwalker, Skylab Commander and Lunar Artist Alan Bean Dies, Aged 86

At 2013’s Skylab 40th anniversary event, astronaut Alan Bean (with microphone) talks to crewmate Jack Lousma, flanked by fellow astronauts. Photo Credit: Emily Carney

Alan Bean, the fourth man to set foot on the lunar surface—and the second Moonwalker to pass in 2018—has died, aged 86, after suddenly falling ill while on travel in […]

Sampling the Moon: Remembering the Lost Moonwalks of Apollo 13 (Part 2)

Jim Lovell and Fred Haise participate in lunar surface training in February 1970. Their target was the Moon’s Fra Mauro foothills. Photo Credit: NASA

In an alternate universe, Jim Lovell and Fred Haise should have been the fifth and sixth sons of humanity to have walked the surface of an alien world. In April […]

'Fire in the Hole': 50 Years Since Apollo 5, First Lunar Module Test-Flight

An unusual sight greeted Cape Kennedy spectators at sunset on 22 January 1968, as the “stubby” Saturn IB, bearing only Lunar Module (LM)-1, rose to orbit. Photo Credit: NASA

By a strange quirk of fate, NASA’s Apollo 5 mission—which launched 50 years ago, this week—used the same booster as should have been ridden by […]

'Fat as a Goose': 45 Years Since Apollo 14 (Part 2)

Al Shepard (foreground) and Ed Mitchell, pictured in the Lunar Module (LM) simulator during training. Photo Credit: NASA

A few hours after leaving Earth on 31 January 1971—45 years ago, this week—Apollo 14 seemed a charmed mission-in-progress, providing a stark contrast with its immediate predecessor, the ill-fated Apollo 13. As outlined in yesterday’s AmericaSpace […]

'Almost Worth the Entire Trip': 45 Years Since Apollo 14 (Part 1)

Al Shepard, pictured at Fra Mauro during Apollo 14 in early 1971. This was the planned landing site for Apollo 13. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-five years ago, this week, the sixth team of Apollo lunar explorers—and only the third to accomplish a landing on the Moon’s dusty surface—headed back to Earth after a mission […]

'A Nation of Quitters': 45 Years Since the Summer Apollo Ended (Part 2)

Training for a mission which, for one of them, would never come to pass, Dick Gordon (left) and Jack Schmitt work with a mockup of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) during their Apollo 15 backup duties. Schmitt’s importance as a professional geologist assured him a seat on Apollo 17. Gordon was not so lucky. […]

'A Nation of Quitters': 45 Years Since the Summer Apollo Ended (Part 1)

Apollo 15, originally the last of the H-series lunar landing missions, evolved to become the first member of the J-series, following the tumultuous events of 1970. Photo Credit: NASA

In 2011, Hollywood had us believe that the crew of Apollo 18 fell victim to spider-like aliens and a sinister conspiracy, spearheaded by the Department […]

'Like a Game of Solitaire': 45 Years Since the Lost Moonwalks of Apollo 13

Artist’s concept of Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell and Fred Haise exploring Fra Mauro. The Lunar Module (LM) Aquarius is visible in the background. Image Credit: Teledyne Brown

Had the cruelty of fate not intervened, 45 years ago, today—on 16 April 1970—the fifth and sixth humans ever to set foot on another world would […]