Apollo Moon Mission Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jenna Conan

Jenna is a fourth grade teacher with a master's degree in instructional design and an undergraduate degree in elementary education.

The goal of the Apollo missions was to get humans to the moon and safely returning them to Earth. Read on to find out more about the hard work it took to achieve this goal.

Mission to the Moon

''That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.''

This is what astronaut Neil Armstrong said when he first set foot on the moon in 1969. He traveled to the moon as part of the Apollo Mission.

This NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) project aimed to send humans to the moon, establish technology to help the United States, carry out scientific exploration on the moon, and develop human capability to live and work there.

NASA is short for National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The Beginning

The Apollo Mission was announced in 1961, when only two humans had ever been to space. NASA scientists aimed to build a rocket powerful enough to reach the moon and a spacecraft that could travel there, then return safely to Earth. They designed the Saturn V rocket, one of the most powerful rockets ever built, to boost the Apollo spacecraft into space.

Apollo 1

Apollo 1 was the first attempt at sending astronauts to the moon. In January 1967, they were performing a test run of the launch that was supposed to happen a month later. Unfortunately, the spacecraft went up in flames with three astronauts inside. The astronauts could not get out, and tragically passed away. Because of the fire, many changes had to be made to make the spacecraft safer.

Apollos 7 - 10

Apollo 7 was the first successful Apollo flight. Three astronauts orbited the Earth for ten days in 1968, then successfully re-entered the atmosphere to return to Earth. The same year, Apollo 8 was the first manned mission to orbit the moon. Three astronauts orbited the moon and returned to Earth after spending six days in space.

Apollos 9 and 10 were both test flights for the actual lunar landing mission. The astronauts performed many tests to make sure everything was ready for the astronauts who would land on the Moon.

Apollos 11 and 12

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon
Apollo 11 mission

In 1969, the first lunar landing mission, Apollo 11, was successful. American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took a lunar lander to the moon while astronaut Michael Collins remained in orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin spent about one full day on the moon.

They then returned to Earth, where they had to be quarantined (kept from other people) for two weeks, because scientists were worried about space germs that could cause disease on Earth.

Apollo 12 was another successful moon landing mission in 1969. The astronauts set up a scientific station and worked on the Surveyor 3 lunar probe.

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