The Key Events


February 14: First scientific experiments for lunar surface investigations were selected.

February 26: Apollo Saturn 201 - an Apollo Block I spacecraft (CSM 009) on a Saturn IB launch vehicle was launched from Cape Kennedy on a suborbital test mission.

March 8: First integrated test of service propulsion system, electrical power system, and cryogenic gas storage system was successfully completed at White Sands, N. Mex., Test Facility.

March 16: Gemini VIII mission was launched with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and David R. Scott. The crew rendezvoused with the target vehicle,and the first docking in space was confirmed 6 hours 33 minutes after liftoff.

During March: NASA Hq. told Congress run-out cost of Apollo program would be an estimated $22.718 billion.

May 5: The Apollo Spacecraft Program Office was asked to reassess spacecraft control weights and delta V budget and prepare recommendations for first lunar landing mission weight and performance budgets.

May 19: After a fire in the environmental control system unit at AiResearch, a concerted effort was under way to identify nonmetallic materials and other potential fire problems.

June 2: Surveyor I softlanded on the moon and began transmitting the first of 10,000 clear, detailed TV pictures to earth.

July 5: AS-203 was launched on an unmanned orbital test mission. All objectives were achieved. No recovery was planned.

July 26: Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Deputy Administrator, assigned specific space flight program responsibilities to the offices of each of the Associate Administrators.

August 10: Lunar Orbiter 1 was launched. By the time of completion of photo readouts from the spacecraft on September 14, it had photographed 9 primary potential Apollo landing sites and 11 areas on the back of the moon.

August 25: AS-202 was launched on an unmanned suborbital test mission. The space vehicle comprised S-IB stage, S-IVB stage, instrument unit, CSM 011. Spacecraft recovery was in Pacific Ocean.

October 19: NASA announced that AS-204 would be the first Apollo manned flight (earth orbital). Crewmen named were Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee.

November 6: Lunar Orbiter II was launched. During a 23-day operational period it photographed 13 Apollo primary potential landing sites and a number of secondary sites. Two micrometeorite hits were detected.

December 13: Lunar landing research vehicle No. 1 was received at MSC. December 22: NASA announced names of crews selected for second and third manned Apollo missions.


January 19: Numerous deficiencies were noted in the AS-204 spacecraft (CSM012) during testing at Downey, Calif., and KSC.

January 20: The S-IVB stage for Saturn launch vehicle 503 exploded and was destroyed at the Douglas Co., Sacramento, Calif., Test Facility.

January 23: The Lunar Mission Planning Board held its first meeting. Principal topic was photography from Lunar Orbiter missions and application to Apollo landing site selection.

January 27: During a simulated countdown for the AS-204 mission, a flash fire swept through command module 012, taking the lives of the crew, Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee.

January 28: The Apollo 204 Review Board was established by NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., to investigate the AS-204 accident.

February 1: Manned Spaceflight Center directed contractors and government agencies to stop all MSC-related manned testing in environments with high oxygen content until further notice.

February 7: The Apollo 204 Review Board Chairman established 21 Task Panels to support the Board in its investigation.

February 10: The Board of Inquiry into the January 20 S-IVB stage explosion identified the probable cause of the accident.

March 14: Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips appointed a team to make a special audit of quality control and inspection procedures and contractors and NASA Centers.

April 5: The Apollo 204 Review Board sent its final report to NASA Administrator James E. Webb.


April 6: A program of biology training for lunar mission crews was formulated.

April 10: MSC's ASPO Manager George M. Low established two task teams to investigate CSM electrical systems and flammable materials.

April 27: NASA Task Team - Block II CSM Redefinition was established in residence at North American Aviation to provide timely decisions during spacecraft redefinition following the January 27 AS-204 fire.

May 1: NASA estimated that the impact of the AS-204 accident on program costs for FY 1967 and 1968 would be $81 million.

May 18: Crew members for the Apollo 7 (first manned Apollo flight) were named: Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donn F. Eisele, and R. Walter Cunningham.

June 1: A meeting at MSC discussed CSM and LM changes, schedules, and related test and hardware programs.

August 1: Lunar Orbiter V was launched; five potential Apollo landing sites were photographed during mission.

August 18: The NASA Block II CSM Redefinition Task Team, established April 27, was phased out.

September 6: An Apollo System Safety program was established by NASA Hq.

October 3: An Apollo Spacecraft Incident Investigation and Reporting Panel was established at MSC.

October 24-November 3: Eberhard F. M. Rees made a preliminary survey at North American Rockwell before forming an Apollo Special Task Team to support MSC on manufacturing problems.

November 4: NASA announced an Apollo mission schedule for six flights in 1968 and five in 1969.

November 9: The Apollo 4 mission was successfully flown. The spacecraft landed in the Pacific Ocean after an 8-hour 37-minute flight.

December 16: NASA and North American Rockwell personnel reached decisions on flammability problems related to coax cables in CMs.

December 17: A LM test failed at Grumman when a window shattered during the initial pressurization test of the LM-5 ascent stage.

December 25: The first fire-in-the hole test was successfully completed at White Sands Test Facility. The vehicle test configuration was LM-2.


January 2: The Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight summarized key decisions required to certify the Apollo system-design for manned flight.

January 17: Eberhard Rees, Director of the Apollo Special Task Team at North American Rockwell Downey, told ASPO Manager George M. Low he had found "serious quality and reliability resources deficiencies."

January 22: NASA launched Apollo 5, the first LM flight (unmanned). The AS-204 launch vehicle was used.

January 24: CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht listed what he thought were the chief problems facing the program.

February 5: The Senior Flammability Board decided on action to prepare for a 60-percent oxygen/40 per-cent nitrogen prelaunch atmosphere in CSM 101.

February 28: Priorities for scientific objectives vs mission operations for the first lunar landing mission were established.

April 4: Apollo 6 was launched on a Saturn V booster, with an unmanned Block I CSM and a lunar test article. The spacecraft landed in the Pacific Ocean in good condition.

April 5-7: A 48-hour delayed-recovery test was successfully conducted in the Gulf of Mexico with three astronauts in CSM 007.

April 10: The Apollo Program Director said a TV camera would be carried in CM 101 (Apollo 7).

May 6: Lunar landing research vehicle No. 1 crashed at Ellington AFB, Tex., during a training flight. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong ejected and suffered minor injuries. The vehicle was a total loss.

May 28: The LM ascent engine problem was resolved, with North American Rockwell's Rocketdyne Division responsible for delivery. The engines would be furnished by Bell Aerosystems Co. to Rocketdyne, and the Rocketdyne injector installed in the engine.

July 3: The final drop test to qualify the CSM earth landing system was successfully conducted.

August 9: ASPO Manager George M. Low initiated a series of actions that resulted in the ultimate decision several months later to send Apollo 8 on a lunar-orbit mission.

August 30: The Director of the Apollo Special Task Team at North American Rockwell, notified the contractor that the facilities there were relinquished to the company. The team's mission was ended.

September 23: The Apollo Guidance Software Task Force submitted its final report.

October 11: Apollo 7 was successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center on a Saturn IB launch vehicle. The first manned Apollo flight was completed October 22.


December 8: Lunar landing training vehicle No. 1, with MSC test pilot Joe Algranti at the controls, crashed and burned at Ellington AFB, Tex. Algranti ejected safely.

December 21: Apollo 8 was launched from KSC on a Saturn V booster. The spacecraft made 20 orbits around the moon on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and returned to earth, landing in the Pacific Ocean December 27.


February 3: NASA announced a 12-month forecast of manned space flight missions, Apollo 9 through Apollo 13.

March 3: Apollo 9 was launched from KSC and carried the LM for the first time on a manned flight. The LM separated and docked with the CSM during the flight and the first Apollo EVA was accomplished. The mission ended March 13 with an Atlantic Ocean splashdown.

March 24: NASA announced that Apollo 10 would be a lunar orbit mission.

May 18: Apollo 10 was launched from KSC on a nine-day mission. The spacecraft orbited the moon and the LM descended to an altitude of 15 kilometers over the planned site for the first lunar landing. Color TV was transmitted to earth. The CM landed safely in the Pacific May 26.

May 27: MSFC was authorized to proceed with development of a manned lunar roving vehicle.

June 17: A seven-day simulation of Lunar Receiving Laboratory activities was successfully completed.

July 16: Apollo 11 was launched from KSC and on July 20 astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., became the first men to walk on the moon. The spacecraft returned to land in the Pacific July 24, and the space goal set by President Kennedy on May 25, 1961, was accomplished.

August 7: Conclusions were reached at MSC concerning modes for future lunar surface exploration.

November 14: Apollo 12 was launched and landed on the moon 163 meters from the Surveyor III spacecraft. The two astronauts performed two EVAs on the lunar surface, retrieved samples and pans of Surveyor III, left the lunar surface after a stay of 31 hours 31 minutes, redocked with the CSM, and landed in the Pacific on November 24.


January 5-8: Detailed reports on the Apollo 11 sample analyses were presented at a Lunar Science Conference at MSC.

March 7: The President listed six specific objectives for the space program.

April 11: Apollo 13 was launched on a lunar landing mission but 7 hours 55 minutes into the flight an explosion in an SM oxygen tank required an abort. The astronauts powered up the LM, powered down the CSM, and used the LM propellant for a free-return trajectory around the moon. They returned safely to earth, and landed in the mid-Pacific on April 17.

April 17: NASA Hq. established an Apollo 13 Review Board to investigate the Apollo 13 accident.


January 31: Apollo 14 was launched from KSC and the LM landed on the Fra Mauro area of the moon on February 5. Two EVAs were performed, the second using a mobile equipment transporter to permit a longer traverse. The LM lifted off from the moon February 6 and the CM splashed down in the Pacific on February 9.

April 26: Quarantine for crew members who would go to the moon on future Apollo flights was discontinued.

July 26: Apollo 15 was launched, and on July 30 the LM landed in the Hadley-Apennine region of the moon. Three EVAs were completed with a total EVA time of 18 hours 35 minutes. The LM ascent stage liftoff on August 2 was the first televised, and the lunar roving vehicle was used for the first time. Apollo 15's CM landed in the Pacific on August 7.


April 16: Apollo 16 was launched from KSC and landed in the moon's Descartes region April 20. Three EVAs were completed, using the lunar roving vehicle for a total distance of 26.7 kilometers. The LM lifted off April 23 and docked with the CSM to transfer astronauts and samples. The CM returned to land in the Pacific April 27.

December 7: Apollo 17, the final manned lunar landing mission, was launched from KSC. The astronauts in the LM landed in the Taurus-Littrow region of the moon on December 11 and explored the area on the lunar roving vehicle during three EVAs with a total of about 22 hours. They lifted off December 14 and landed in the Pacific December 19.


January 22: A tribute to the Apollo program from former President Johnson, who had died earlier in the day, was read at the National Space Club's "Salute to Apollo," held in Washington, D.C.

November 2: A stained glass Space Window with a two-centimeter Apollo 11 lunar sample in its center was commissioned for the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.


July 13: President Nixon proclaimed July 16-24 United States Space Week in recognition of the fifth anniversary of Apollo 11.

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