Apollo 14

Apollo 14 was a manned flight to the moon as part of the U.S. Apollo program.


On 6 August 1969, shortly after the successful moon landing by Apollo 11, NASA announced the teams for the missions Apollo 13 and Apollo 14.

Internally, had already been decided that the Mercury veteran Alan Shepard would command one of the next lunar flights. He had been in 1961 became the first American in space, although its ballistic flight Mercury - Redstone 3 had only lasted 15 minutes and not carried in orbit around the Earth; due to this fact, the crew of Apollo 14 was half-jokingly referred to as the first crew out loud newcomers. Shepard had been denied because of his Meniere's syndrome, an ear - pressure disease, the ability to fly, but he could be active after inner ear surgery again.

Shepard was initially provided as commander of Apollo 13, at the expense of Gordon Cooper, who would actually have been as a substitute commander of Apollo 10 in the series. Then it was but decided that Shepard Apollo should take 14 to give him more time to prepare. But the command of Apollo 13 was not Cooper, but to Jim Lovell, who had trained with his crew until then for Apollo 14. Cooper left shortly after NASA.

As a pilot of the command module of Apollo 14 Stuart Roosa was divided, the preference was given prior Donn Eisele. Eisele had Cooper as part of the backup crew of Apollo 10 and would thus have commonly been nominated in the main crew of Apollo 14.

Pilot of the lunar module was Edgar Mitchell, after James McDivitt ( Commander of the as Gemini 4 and Apollo 9 is not space was experienced as Shepard ) had turned down the position. Both Roosa and Mitchell were from the fifth astronaut selection group and still had not completed spaceflight.

The backup crew were Eugene Cernan as commander, after Michael Collins had waived this post, Ron Evans as a pilot of the Apollo Command Module and Joe Engle as pilot of the Lunar Module.

The support team ( support crew ) consisted of Bruce McCandless, William Pogue and Philip Chapman. Chapman was the first astronaut of the sixth selection group, which was nominated for a team. Pogue would be the last member of a support crew, which was later nominated for an Apollo flight: he started in 1973 with Skylab 4


The individual stages of the Saturn V rocket AS -509 were delivered from January to May 1970 at the Kennedy Space Center. The Apollo spacecraft CSM -110 was named Kitty Hawk, after the place where the Wright Brothers had made ​​the first powered flight. The Lunar Module LM -8 was named after the star Antares in the constellation Scorpio.

Due to the problems of Apollo 13 three major changes to the Apollo spacecraft were made: The internal structure of the oxygen tanks was changed, a third oxygen tank was added and installed another battery. In addition the team to avoid contagions had to go through a quarantine before the flight.

When connecting speakers ( Capcom ) during the flight were Ron Evans of the backup crew, Fred Haise of Apollo 13, Bruce McCandless on the support team, and Gordon Fullerton.

History of the flight

Start and Departure

The launch of Apollo 14 to the moon on January 31, 1971 16:03 clock local time ( 21:03 UTC) from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. On launch day there was very bad weather, and just before the start of the countdown was stopped to let pass a rain and thunderstorm. Apollo 12 was struck by lightning during launch, which had led to the failure of multiple systems. This risk did not want to go again one.

As with all the moon flights in the Apollo program orbit was only driven before the third stage was ignited a second time to bring the spacecraft on the way to the moon.

The problems experienced the maneuvers, as on the way the Lunar Module " Antares " is controlled at the nose of the Apollo command module " Kitty Hawk" and docked. Roosa took six attempts before it succeeded in the sequence but there were no problems with the system longer.

On the Moon

As a target, the Fra -Mauro highlands was sighted, which actually Apollo 13 would have to be visited. Having a problem with the on-board electrical system of the Antares was resolved, waited a very comprehensive scientific program on the astronauts. In addition to an expanded ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package), the team had a number of smaller gauges in the luggage. These included

  • A radioisotope generator ( RTG)
  • A passive seismic and
  • An active seismic experiment, which fired explosive charges into the lunar surface
  • A " Supra Thermal Ion Detector" experiment for the detection of gases
  • A " Cold Cathode Gauge" experiment for atmospheric pressure measurement
  • A " Charged Particle Lunar Environment" experiment, a kind of mortar
  • A laser reflector for determining the distance Earth-Moon ( Satellite Laser Ranging)
  • A " Lunar Portable Magnetometer" experiment,
  • A solar wind experiment
  • As well as tools to study the moon 's geology and the moon rock.

The first spacewalk (EVA ) lasted 5.03 hours, in which the astronauts mainly lined up the experiments. During the subsequent resting phase Shepard and Mitchell benefited from hammocks that they aufspannten in the lander and, with little additional weight, significantly improved sleep comfort. Had the second trip the next day to aim at the top of the lunar crater cone, which has a considerable diameter of 300 m and is 40 m deep, to take rock samples. They do not reach the crater. The first time carried " Modular Equipment Transporter" (MET ), a non-powered hand truck to move through the deep moon dust was exhausting and took more time and breathing air than imagined. Moreover, the two astronauts were something in a southerly direction from its route from. In the four hours and 23 minutes, the astronauts placed some three kilometers traveled back to the moon.

On the basis of high-resolution photographs of the LROC was found in August 2009 that they missed the crater rim to 30 meters due to insufficient terrain information. At the end of the last EVA Shepard then also became the first golfer on the moon. He pulled two golf balls out of his pocket and slammed it by means of a built from the stem of a sampling tool and brought iron -6- head golf club several hundred meters wide, which he commented with " Miles and miles and miles".

Return and landing

The flight proceeded without problems. On February 9, 1971 at 16:05 clock Apollo 14 splashed down only 7 km from the USS New Orleans in the Pacific. The landing capsule missed the intended target point only 1.1 km away, and had thus the most accurate landing of all Apollo missions.

As the crews of Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 had also Shepard, Roosa and Mitchell after landing, wearing protective suits and go for 16 days in quarantine. As with the two previous crews no signs of "moon viruses " have been discovered, so that was omitted in later flights on this precaution. The crew of Apollo 14 was therefore the only one in the dubious pleasure of two quarantine periods.

Whereabouts of the spacecraft

The command module of Apollo 14 is now in the Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Previously, she was part of the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Titusville, Florida.

Importance for the Apollo program

The Apollo 14 mission was at this time the scientifically successful. Thus, provided the rock brought with a total weight of 42.9 kg lot of valuable information on the dating of the moon's age. The set up in the environment of the Antares measuring instruments provided ample data. The seismometer registered example moonquakes mainly when the moon, perigee was at the perigee of its orbit. The success of this mission made ​​then also the way for the Apollo missions 15, 16 and 17

Before starting the mission, the astronauts had in August 1970 a field workout completed in Ries, since the many quarries in this area and there occurring suevite rocks the moon's surface are very similar. In gratitude for the support the city of Nördlingen in 1972 by NASA received a moonstone from the Apollo 16 mission as a permanent loan, which can be visited in the local Ries Crater Museum.

Mitchell and Shepard were the only Apollo astronauts who had conducted increased during the flight instead. Shepard had a mission mascot a dolphin crystal with you.