Space missions are some of the most fascinating feats of engineering in our history and yet, there is still a great deal that we don’t know about our journeys into the universe. The Apollo space program is perhaps the most famous in the world and for years, it was surrounded by questions that have simply never been answered. In recent years, however, light has been shed on some of the most hushed up parts of the Apollo program and now, we know more than we ever have. Want an insight into how we got to the moon in the first place? This ought to clear things up.
- A Joint Soviet-American Effort
While the “space race” was in full swing, John F. Kennedy was floating around an idea of a very different kind. In September 1963, the then-President announced to the world that he was considering a joint lunar mission with the Soviet government. The statement came about as an attempt to combine both countries’ expertise and further the exploration into space, as well as cutting rising costs. While the plan was eventually nixed, it could have led to a very different journey into the great unknown.
- A Ground-Based Tragedy
While the Apollo missions are known for their widespread success, there were a number of tragedies before some of the trips even left the earth. In 1967, astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee were being set up for a pre-launch test flight. While they waited in their Apollo 1 launchpad, however, a faulty wiring triggered a fire that quickly tore out of control, exploding into the cabin’s pure oxygen atmosphere. The latch system on the machine made it all but impossible for the men to escape, leading to the biggest tragedy suffered by the program until that point. After that point, NASA made crucial internal changes to avoid an accident of the same kind.
- Another Man On The Moon
While Neil Armstrong might be known throughout history, his name wasn’t always destined to be remembered. In the first drawing of the flight crew, Gus Grissom was chosen to lead the mission, losing his place due to his untimely death. Following this, commander Frank Borman got the call, instead choosing to turn it down in order to retire. It was only on the third selection of candidates that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were called up, set to go down in history.
- A Feminine Touch
Some of the most recognizable clothing items in the world, the Apollo spacesuits had a great deal of time and effort put into them. When the Apollo team made their way onto the surface of the moon, they did so in designs created by lingerie company Playtex. Led by their latex division, the company created the designs in order to promote the best mix of comfort and ease of movement. Evidently, the designs were good enough to last the test of time!
- Lucky Strike
Over the course of the years, there were a number of Apollo missions that ventured into space, but some were luckier than others. Apollo 12, the second lunar mission, was hit twice by lightning during its takeoff. While NASA considered calling in the mission, the spaceship didn’t suffer any lasting damage and the crew managed to make a safe departure. Take about going off with a bang!