Talk:Apollo program

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About the table...[edit]

Perhaps we should change the "Partial Failure" listed by Apollo 13 to "Successful Failure". Many people including Flight Crew members refer to it as such. The phrase is well known, and is more commonly used to describe the result as opposed to "Partial Failure". Lilly (talk) 00:59, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

  • Edit found an official NASA website backing me up so I am changing it.

"Classed as "successful failure" because of experience in rescuing crew." Lilly (talk) 01:23, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Although the term "Successful Failure" is used by nasa, I feel like "Partial Failure" is a more neutral and accurate term. The mission's goal was to send a crew to the moon and return them safely. While they did return safely, we cannot ignore the fact there was a very serious failure on board. I am not trying to discredit the incredible ingenuity and the fantastic story of the Apollo 13 crew and engineers at NASA, but the fact of the matter is the mission did not go as planned due to a failure during the flight. To keep wikipedia as neutral and academic as possible, the term "Partial Failure" should be used to describe the Apollo 13 mission. NASA can label the failure however they wish, however, that does not change the facts concerning the mission. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 21:51, November 29, 2010 (UTC)
In the spirit of neutrality, I don't believe it is necessary at all to place success/failure ratings in this mission table; it's not our obligation to make such judgements (WP:OR), and the fact that it raises a controversy shows it's not a good idea. Also, I don't believe you'll find this in the equivalent mission list tables in most other encyclopedias or space program reference books. We are not in the actuarial business.
We also should remember that during the Apollo program, space travel was (and even to this day should be considered) largely developmental (forgetting this was suggested as contributing to the Challenger tragedy at the time), and not everything could be expected to succeed 100% on every mission. The only real failures were the Apollo 1 tragedy and Apollo 13. Even the engine failure on Apollo 6 didn't stall the program, and there were many little bugs and glitches that had to be worked around in the successes.
Therefore, I would like to simply remove the color-coded designations; the failures can be easily noted in the "Mission Result" text (which we might want to think about renaming.) JustinTime55 (talk) 17:37, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
Make judgments? The entire point of Apollo 13 was to land on the Moon and it failed to do so. There is no "original research" at play here in just mentioning the fact that the mission did not meet NASA's own stated goals for it. Propaganda and spin aside, there is no real controversy over what Apollo 13 was: a failure.-- (talk) 03:03, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Partial success would be a lot better Ash :) (talk) 19:50, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Space program infobox[edit]

User Soerfm has added a generic infobox to this article, similar to how he changed the infoboxes in Project Mercury and Project Gemini to refer to the programs themselves rather than the spacecraft. I think a Template:Infobox space program would might be a good idea, but this requires some careful thought and design. It perhaps could be used on all programs (at least the "real" ones), e.g. Vostok, Voskhod, Soyuz, Skylab, Space Shuttle, Shenzou, etc. Until this is done, I don't think it represents a net value added here (unlike in Mercury and Gemini), so I have reverted it.

Some might not agree that this infobox is necessary, and maybe some technical expertise is required to create a new template (I've only done some editing to existing ones.) I think this should be discussed in Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Spaceflight. JustinTime55 (talk) 17:29, 28 September 2011 (UTC) Comment revised JustinTime55 (talk) 16:32, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

I have created the template, Template:Infobox space program. I am not going to transclude it on any articles at this time. I will be posting this on the WikiProject Spaceflight talk page so that it can be reviewed. The template does include an example that uses all of the parameters I have defined in the template using the Apollo Program as the example. Feel free to check it out. MasterSearcy (talk) 01:45, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
Please direct all discussion to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Spaceflight#Space Program Infobox JustinTime55 (talk) 16:32, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

"Putting lipstick on a pig"[edit]

The old proverb says this doesn't make much sense; it's still a pig. Similarly, I don't think the solution for this paragraph in the Cultural impact subsection, is to make incremental copyedits, but rather to remove it:

The dramatic accident of Apollo mission 13 was a well-known event and many people from around the world witnessed the magical return of the Apollo 13 crew members. However, the mission was not a very popular event during its launch, and TV ratings were at their historical low for space mission launches. ABC was showing the Dick Cavett Show when the Apollo 13 incident happened. That night Dick Cavett mentioned the mission on his show, saying how 3 million fewer viewers watched the launch compared to the last mission, even comparing it to the first few missions. ABC switched from the talk show to a "Special Report on Apollo 13". Then the TV screen displayed a special message on the Apollo 13 spacecraft and its failure. Apollo 13 made headlines for every newspaper and TV programs.[citation needed]

Being uncited (and thus OR), alone is enough to remove it. Besides that, this much detail about Apollo 13 might belong in that article, but is way out of scope of cultural impact of the entire program. (One suspects that the writer's source was the Apollo 13 film.) The writing style is poor, and I'm not sure if it's appropriate to call "the magical return" peacock wording, but it's certainly not encyclopedic tone. I'm frankly surprised this stayed here for so long.

If someone feels it's appropriate to mention that Apollo 13 marked a turning point in waning public interest in the Moon shots, one or two sentences should do it (with appropriate citation.) JustinTime55 (talk) 21:12, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Command/service module - heat during re-entry[edit]

The majority of heat during re-entry is due to compressing the air ahead of the re-entry vehicle. The air "cannot get out of the way" as the vehicle is entering at supersonic speeds. Calling it "air friction" is somewhat of a misconception. This is discussed in the atmospheric entry article under the real gas section:, and is also discussed on the space shuttle page. WikiDrPizza (talk) 18:16, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

APOLLO named after the ranging experiment??[edit]

It amazes me that this article and scientists in general never discuss what one of the main purposes of the APOLLO missions were or what even 'APOLLO' stands for - it is by far the best way of shooting down the conspiracy theory. The "Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser Operation" placed retro-reflectors on the moon so that we could accurately measure the distance to the moon. Measurements such as this are very important for geodesy and are fundamental to designing systems such as GPS etc., we measure distances to these reflectors to this day and any thought of placing one without a manned mission in those days is quite ridiculous. Jonny2vests (talk) 02:03, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation says that experiment started operation in 2005, whereas we all know the Apollo manned program was named in 1960. Indeed, the observatory APOLLO is based at, Apache Point Observatory didn't even exist before the mid-80's. Furthermore, we'd been soft landing instruments on the moon since the Surveyor Program in 1966, and could have put anything we wanted on them. The Soviets placed a lunar laser reflector without a manned mission in 1970 (eventually did this twice, actually). So, you're being silly. APOLLO for the laser program is an after-the-fact made-up acronym. Rather like MESSENGER for the Mercury spacecraft. Nice troll post, tho. SBHarris 03:01, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Contradiction in Thrust figures[edit]

"Sending the three-man Apollo Command Module directly to the lunar surface and back would require an extremely large launch vehicle, the Nova, which could send over 130,000 pounds (59,000 kg) to the Moon. While the Saturn V was less powerful than the Nova would have been, it still holds the record for largest payload capacity (260,000 lb/120,000 kg to LEO or (220,000 lb/100,000 kg to the Moon) of any rocket developed as of 2012."

Anyone see the totally obvious contradiction? 100,000 kg to me clearly isn't "less powerful" than 59,000 kg. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:32, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm tempted to say "vandalism", but maybe someone just got confused. The correct Saturn V lunar payload is 100,000 pounds (not kg). It's fixed now. (BTW: your heading is wrong; that's payload, not thrust. There's a lot of lay confusion about what "rocket power" means.) JustinTime55 (talk) 15:47, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Structure and grammar[edit]

Due to the extensive rewrites made over the last several months by an ambitious, well-meaning, but I suspect slightly English-writing-challenged newbie, I've downgraded the quality rating from B to C, in light of how good it was before and how close we were, shooting for a featured article. I appreciate the spirit of WP:BOLD and some of these updates, but I just feel the goal is now a bit farther rather than closer, and it will take a lot more work to clean up and move ahead.

The style and grammar should be obvious to those following the edits to this, Project Mercury, Project Gemini, and Apollo 11 (this last a real problem, since it was GA and now I feel merits a reevaluation.)

As for structure, my major complaint is that it is oriented too much around "missions" (a word I believe not always fully understood.) I've believed for a while that an area of improvement was to structure the history of the program a bit better around the actual development history of the initial unmanned tests, the initial plan for manned flight, which got tragically blown away by the Apollo 1 fire (something I feel has gotten neglected), and then the recovery to the testing of the real lunar hardware and the resumption of manned flight planning.

Also, the editor mentioned added an artist's conception of the lunar mission profile to Apollo 11, something which I believe better belongs here and this article has been lacking. JustinTime55 (talk) 20:43, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Conspiracy theories[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this discussion was User indefinitely blocked as sockpuppet of Maxviwe

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Table of missions[edit]

How about having a table of the missions? Or a table of the unmanned missions and a table of the manned missions? For manned missions, the first column would be the mission, then the launch vehicle, the then three astronauts, then perhaps the backup crew, and finally a comment. For unmanned, list the mission, launch vehicle, and objective. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 20:17, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Similar to Project_Gemini#List_of_missions and Project_Mercury#Manned flights. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 21:32, 24 September 2012 (UTC)


The lead says "Conceived during the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower as a follow-on to Project Mercury, which put the first Americans in space, and Project Gemini, which developed the space travel techniques needed,...". This sounds like Gemini was conceived during the Eisenhower administration, but I think it was later. As I understand it, Gemini was started after Apollo. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 21:03, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

According to Project Gemini, Gemini was conceived in the Kennedy administration. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 21:31, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

This sentence was recently edited to say it was a follow-on to Gemini as well as Mercury, which I agree is grossly incorrect and should be changed. (In fact, there was a debate somewhere, I think it may be in the archives here, whether Gemini was the "second" or "third" US manned program.) What really happened was, that Apollo was conceived as a multi-man program to follow Mercury. The Mercury contractor, McDonnell, was pushing (and NASA was thinking about) extending Mercury to a bigger, two-man spacecraft, called "Mercury Mark II". This fell by the wayside, but after Apollo was assigned to Kennedy's Moon mission, the two-man Gemini was invented to help support Apollo, and McDonnell's "Mark II" design was the ideal starting point for it. (Of course, that all is way too much info for Apollo's intro here.) JustinTime55 (talk) 15:41, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Actually, the way it is now isn't exactly right either. It makes it sound as if the manned lunar landing program were conceived during the Eisenhower administration. It began as a spacecraft program with several tentative missions, until Kennedy focused it on the Moon. And it's not accurate to say it followed Gemini if it began the planning stages first; it ran concurrently with Gemini and only the manned flights followed it. I'm going to try another pass. JustinTime55 (talk) 16:15, 27 September 2012 (UTC)


The article says "After Apollo 12 placed the first of several seismometers on the Moon...", but Apollo 11 left a seismometer, right? Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 22:53, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

That's right. I think I've been getting this confused with the crashing of the LMs starting with 12. Not sure why they didn't crash 12's S-IVB, since they already had two seismometers in place then; this would have to be researched. I'm going to fix it. JustinTime55 (talk) 16:44, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Low Earth Orbit[edit]

In the article, it says that only 24 people have been beyond Low-Earth Orbit. What about the Hubble serving missions? Or any others? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:01, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Low Earth orbit is defined as below 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi). The Hubble orbits at only 559 kilometers (347 mi), so is not beyond LEO. The region of space immediately above LEO is in the Van Allen radiation belt, and would be dangerous for a human stay for any length of time with current spacecraft/spacesuit technology. The Apollo astronauts passed through and did not linger in it. JustinTime55 (talk) 13:57, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Science legacy[edit]

Is there additional discussion of the science legacy of Apollo anywhere? I expected to see something in this article, but all I found are a few sentences in the "Samples returned" section, while the "Legacy" section doesn't specifically address scientific discoveries at all. There was a nice article on arxiv today ( that summarizes some of the key science results. James McBride (talk) 06:04, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

AS-1xx, AS-2xx, and SA-5xx[edit]

In the subarticle List of Apollo missions it says: The Marshall Space Flight Center, which designed the Saturn rockets, referred to the flights as Saturn-Apollo (SA), while Kennedy Space Center referred to the flights as Apollo-Saturn (AS). This is why the unmanned Saturn 1 flights are referred to as SA and the unmanned Saturn 1B are referred to as AS. Except that this does not explain why the manned Marshal flight with the fire (never launched) was indubitably named AS-204 not SA-204.

Later-- never mind, this is indeed all screwed up. I did find both AS and SA designations for Apollo 4, 5 , and 6 in the period literature. Even though 4and 6 used Saturn V and 5 used the IB originally intended for the manned AS-204 of the fire, and was thus even flown by the same name at the time. Sigh.SBHarris 20:26, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Why did we RETURN to the moon?[edit]

I understand that we went there for the glory, the demonstration of strength against the soviet and also a little for science... but why did we go several times? I don't get that. I thinks it's a gap in the explanation. --Jules.LT (talk) 22:42, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

We didn't go for a "little science." We went for all the science we could get. The moon is a very complicated place (see Geology of the Moon), with rocks of all kinds of different ages, with the really old stuff overlain with younger lavas/basalts and over that, even younger regolith breccias (see moon rock) and dust. Hard to tell age "by eye," and yet if you get back to Earth and have just another piece of the same dust, breccia, and lava you got the previous time, you've failed. And it's hard to dig-- the really good stuff is scattered around impact craters where it's been excavated for you. You've got to survey this gigantic place and you have little time and oxygen. Even with the rover (last three missions) you dare not go farther than you can walk back from. It's amazing what they got done with only six mission (the first of which was just a land, salute, grab a few rocks, and leave). SBHarris 23:14, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
This is not a random forum discussion: the reasons behind the Apollo program are very important to this article. The scientific knowledge we gained from these expeditions might be very interesting, but it is not the reason why we embarked on this multi-billion adventure. So once we had reached the goals of the project that are represented in the "background" section of this article had been achieved? (mostly, a demonstration of strength against the soviet), what kept us going? This should be investigated, sourced, and included in the article. --Jules.LT (talk) 13:11, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Just because the "original / public intent" for the Apollo program was something sold to President Kennedy as "an achievable milestone that the program could have a chance at delivering before the Soviets", doesn't mean that that was the "sole intent" of the Apollo program. The Apollo program itself had a far reaching goal or why else plan to go all the way up through Apollo 20? So there's no gap in the explanation - there's simply a gap in your pre-conceived notion / initial hypothesis that the goal of the Apollo program was somehow ONLY to be first to the moon.
Don't get me wrong - if you are saying that the WIKI PAGE is lacking and needs additional text sourcing to the program's goals, that's one thing (and the short thumbnail sketch on this page seems to indicate the the major goal of Apollo was to get to the moon first), but if we are simply discussing the program itself and its overall intent, we are getting into forum / axe-grinding territory. Ckruschke (talk) 17:37, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke
I do think that the page is lacking, because the goal I get from it is insufficient to account for Apollo 12-20. You say that there was some far reaching goal, so I'm guessing that you know what it was. Could you please include it in the page and source it? --Jules.LT (talk) 08:30, 3 April 2013 (UTC)