How many space missions have reached the moon?

Although the Apollo 11 mission is the most well-known and best remembered, after July 20, 1969, man has stepped on the moon five more times.

Apollo 12 (1969), 14 (1971), 15 (1971), 16 (1972) and 17 (1972) were the missions that continued the work of Apollo 11. During the successive excursions to the Moon, astronauts collected various rock samples and explored the mountains of our satellite. From the Apollo 15 mission, the lunar rover was used to travel, a kind of all-terrain vehicle with a range of 78 hours. The only failed mission was that of Apollo 13, as an explosion in the service module forced the crew to abort the landing.

In all, 18 lucky astronauts have reached lunar orbit on six separate missions: Neil Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, Michael Collins, Charles Conrad, Richard Gordon, Alan L. Bean, Alan B. Shephard, Stuart A. Roosa, Reparto: Edgar Mitchell, David Scott, James B. Irwin, Alfred Worden, John Young, Thomas Mattingly, Charles Duke, Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans y Harrison Schmitt. However, only 12 of them managed to set foot on the moon, as there should always be an astronaut orbiting the moon on the return ship.

Let’s take a closer look at all the manned moon landings and the Apollo mission that took place from 1961 to 1972:

Apollo 11: Neil Armstrong and Edwin Buzz Aldrin

Apollo 11 became the first manned spacecraft to land on the surface of the moon. On July 20, 1969, he landed in the area called the Sea of Tranquility. It was on this occasion that Commander Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon and said: "It is a small step for man, a great leap for humanity". Pilot Aldrin followed him minutes later. They remained on the surface for 21 hours and 36 minutes, took photographs, conducted experiments and collected rock and soil samples before taking off. The lunar module was then coupled with the orbital command module piloted by Michael Collins.

Apollo 12: Charles Conrad and Alan Bean

The second mission of the manned moon was led by Commander Charles Conrad and pilot Alan Bean. They separated from the orbital module piloted by Richard Gordon to set foot on the lunar surface on November 19, 1969. They landed near Surveyor 3 where several unmanned spacecraft had landed two and a half years earlier, in the area called Oceanus Procellarum near the Surveyor crater. They conducted experiments, took photographs and collected samples within 31 hours and 31 minutes. They also collected parts of Surveyor 3 for further examination and before takeoff.

Apollo 14: Aland Shepard and Edgar Mitchell

Manned by Commander Aland Shepard and pilot Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 made the third manned landing on the moon on February 5, 1971. They landed 21 kilometers north of the Fra Mauro crater, spent 33 hours and 31 minutes on the lunar surface to collect samples. They conducted photographs and experiments. Shepard also hit two golf balls before taking off the surface to dock with the orbital command module piloted by Stuart Roosa.

Apollo 15: David Scott and James Irvin

The fourth mission of the manned moon was performed by Apollo 15 upon landing on the lunar surface on July 30, 1971, with Commander David Scott and pilot James Irvin, specifically in the area of Mare Imbrium, near the Apennines Mountains. On this mission, a lunar rover was first employed, allowing astronauts to explore a much larger area of the moon. They remained on the surface for 66 hours and 55 minutes and took samples, photographs and conducted experiments before taking off with the orbital module piloted by Alfred Worden.

Apollo 16: John Young and Charles Duke

Apollo 16, commanded by John Young and piloted by Charles Duke, landed on the moon on April 21, 1972, making it the fifth manned landing on the moon. They landed in the Descartes area, north of the Dolland crater, leaving pilot Thomas Mattingly in charge of the orbital command module. In the lunar rover, the astronauts traveled 27 km, collected samples, took photographs and conducted several experiments over a period of 71 hours and 21 minutes on the surface before the lunar module took off and docked with the command module, dated 24 April.

Apollo 17: Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt

The last manned landing on the moon was made possible by Apollo 17 with Commander Eugene Cernan and the lunar module pilot Harrison Schmitt at hand. They disconnected from the command module piloted by Ronald Evans to land in the valley of Taurus Littrow, near the southeastern edge of the Sea of Serenity crater on December 11, 1972. They traveled 30 kilometers across the surface in a lunar rover taking photographs, collecting samples and conducting experiments. They spent 75 hours on the natural satellite before taking off and docking with the command module on December 19.