The Apollo spacecraft, bound for the moon, consisted of a conical Command Module, in which the three U.S. astronauts would fly, connected to a cylindrical Service Module containing the power, propulsion, and life-support systems. They launched on the massive Saturn 5 rocket, still the largest rocket ever to carry humans into space.
Though marred by the tragedy of Apollo I (which led to many design improvements), the 10 following missions, including the first lunar landing, Apollo 11, represented one of mankind's greatest achievements. Following the final lunar mission (Apollo 17) in 1972, 3 Apollo missions were flown to Skylab, and in 1975, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Mission concluded the program.
Apollo's Lunar Module: A True Spaceship
Intimately bound up with the Apollo craft is the two-stage Lunar Module, the first true spaceship designed free of aerodynamic concerns. With its unmistakable spindly-legged aspect and angular design, the Lunar Modules are the only spacecraft to date that have ferried astronauts down to the surface of the moon and back into space.
In all, six Lunar Modules touched down on the moon's surface, each with a two-man crew. The moon landers were given separate names from their Apollo command module counterparts. The historic Apollo 11 Lunar Module was dubbed "Eagle."
When it came time to leave the moon, the upper stage of the Lunar Module launched into lunar orbit, leaving its spidery landing module on the moon's surface as seen here, when the Apollo 16 module left the moon in 1972.
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