American Space History
The Space Programs of the 1960ís
By Enrico

"Buzz" Aldrin planting the American Flag on the moon

During the 1960s a lot of important events happened in N.A.S.A. All of those important things such as, Apollo 11, Apollo 10 and Apollo 13, had to do with the space race. The space race was a race to the moon between the Soviets and the United States. The U.S. had to make it there first in order for John F. Kennedy to keep his promise to the whole country. If the U.S. didnít get there before the Soviets they would be embarrassed once again. So did the U.S. get their first? Find out in this report.

Apollo 13 was a very big moment in American history. On the evening of April 11 the launch of Apollo 13 was created. Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise were all about to experience the moon, maybe. These people were all astronauts for the Apollo 13 mission. Lovell was born on March 25, 1928 in Cleveland, Ohio. He became the first person ever to have four space walks. He also holds the record for most space hours in NASA history, which is five hundred and seventy two hours. Another Apollo 13 astronaut was Jack Swigert. He was born on August 30, 1931 in Denver, Colorado. Swigert spent a total of 142 hours and 54 minutes in space. Fred Haise was born on November 14, 1933 in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Apollo 13 mission launched on the evening of April 11, 1970 at the Kennedy Space Center. The spacecraft that launched was nearly identical to the spacecraft that launched for the Apollo 12 mission. On its way to the moon the Oxygen 2 tank blew up which prevented the Apollo 13 mission from landing on the moon. The mission was only 200,000 miles from earth so the Apollo 13 mission was forced back to the Earth's surface.

On July 16, 1969 the Apollo 10 mission launched into Earth's atmosphere. The astronauts on this mission were very experienced. Thomas P. Stafford was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma on September 17, 1930. He received a bachelorís degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1952. He was also the command module pilot for the Apollo 7 mission. John W. Young was born on September 24, 1930 in San Francisco, California. He received a bachelorís degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952.  Eugene A. Cernan was another astronaut that was part of the Apollo 10 mission. He was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 14, 1932. He received his bachelorís degree  from the University of Purdue in 1956. The Apollo 10 mission was launched on May 19, 1969 at 12:49 pm. It reached Earth's orbit on May 21. The lunar module reached 11,107 miles per hour which was a NASA record. During the mission the astronauts got ready to celebrate as they got within 14 kilometers of the moon, but it wasnít enough, the Americans couldnít celebrate yet. This mission never touched down on the moon's surface.

The Apollo 11 mission launched in the morning at 9:37 am, in 1969. The Saturn V rocket stood 365 feet tall on the launch pad. When it launched you could see the 7.5 million pounds of thrust from this somewhat monstrous rocket. As soon as the astronauts entered Earth's orbit, they knew it was a long journey ahead. All of a sudden when the astronauts got close to the moon the fuel tank was almost out of fuel and needed to land in 94 seconds. The lunar module landed in 20 seconds. If the lunar module didnít land in 94 seconds  the whole module would have blown up and would have prevented Buzz, Collins and Neil from getting to the moon and more importantly from keeping their lives. Yes!!!!!!!!!! There were kisses given to each other and that was the happy reaction back from at the space center on planet Earth. "One small step for man is a giant step for mankind," was the famous quote that came from Neil Armstrong, he also said "the soil on the moon was fine and powdery just like baby powder." Once Buzz stuck that flag on the moon it was one of the greatest moments in American history. When the men came back from their journey, the service module took one big splash into the Atlantic Ocean, 825 miles away from Hawaii. A U.S. carrier named the U.S.S. Hornet came to the rescue. When they finally reached land, President Nixon lent the astronauts his jet so they could take a world tour. In 34 days, they got to see 24 countries and 27 cities. In September the first museum was opened based on the Apollo 11 mission at Smithsonian Air and Space museum in Washington D.C.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy kept his promise to his country, and the U.S. didnít get embarrassed by the Soviets "again." American space history has had some up and downs but these three missions will never be forgotten.

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