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Space transport

Apollo mission

Armstrong's photo of Aldrin standing on the MoonArmstrong's photo of Aldrin standing on the Moon After the former Soviet Union launched the first man into orbit in 1961, American President John F. Kennedy announced that the USA would land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s. The mission was carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). A new spacecraft specially designed for the mission, called Apollo, was built. During a series of missions in Earth and Moon orbit throughout the 1960s, Apollo was thoroughly tested and astronauts trained for the Moon landing. The first manned flight of Apollo was in 1968, followed by the first successful landing by humans on the Moon on 20th July 1969. Five more landings followed, the last in December 1972. Twelve men walked on the Moon.

Saturn V rocket with some sections in cutawaySaturn V rocket with some sections in cutaway

Saturn V

The enormous Saturn V, built to launch the Apollo series of spacecraft, consisted of three rocket stages. In a multi-stage rocket, the engines of each stage fire until their fuel runs out. Then the stage is jettisoned (cast off) and the engines of the next stage fire. The rocket gets lighter each time a stage is lost, allowing it to accelerate more easily. This is more efficient than one rocket.

The first stage (1) of a Saturn V had five engines (2) fuelled by kerosene and liquid oxygen stored in huge tanks (3). It created as much thrust as 50 jumbo jets. The second stage (4) also had five engines, fuelled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen. The third stage (5) had one engine, also fuelled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen.

The Lunar Module was named Eagle after the national bird of the United States, the bald eagle.

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