James A. Lovell Jr.
Born: March 25, 1928 in Cleveland Ohio
Time in space: 29 days, 19 hours, 3 minutes
Missions: Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, Apollo 13
Education: Attended the University of Wisconsin and received a Bachelor of Science
degree from the United States Naval Academy (1952). He attended Test Pilot School at the
Naval Air Test Center in Maryland, and then was a test pilot for four years, serving as the
program manager for the F4H Phantom Fighter. Lovell completed the Advanced
Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1971 (after his many NASA missions)
Other: Tom Hank’s played Lovell in the movie Apollo 13.
Early ‘Unmanned’ Space Mission
Launched October 4, 1957 at 19:12:00 UTC
Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite successfully placed in orbit around the Earth. It was launched from
the small town of Baikonur) in Kazakhstan, then part of the former Soviet Union. The Russian word
"Sputnik" means "companion" ("satellite" in the astronomical sense).
In 1885 Konstantin Tsiolkovsky first described in his book, Dreams of Earth and Sky, how such a satellite
could be launched into a low altitude orbit. It was the first in a series of four satellites as part of the Sputnik
program of the former Soviet Union and was planned as a contribution to the International Geophysical
Year (1957-1958). Three of these satellites (Sputnik 1, 2, and 3) reached Earth orbit.
The Sputnik 1 satellite was a 58.0 cm-diameter aluminum sphere that carried four whip-like antennas that
were 2.4-2.9 m long. The antennas looked like long "whiskers" pointing to one side. The spacecraft obtained
data pertaining to the density of the upper layers of the atmosphere and the propagation of radio signals in
the ionosphere. The instruments and electric power sources were housed in a sealed capsule.
Since the sphere was filled with nitrogen under pressure, Sputnik 1 provided the first opportunity for
meteoroid detection but no such events were reported. The satellite transmitters operated for three weeks,
until the on-board chemical batteries failed, and were monitored with intense interest around the world.
The orbit of the then inactive satellite was later observed optically to decay 92 days after launch (January 4,
1958) after having completed about 1400 orbits of the Earth over a cumulative distance traveled of 70
million kilometers. The orbital apogee declined from 947 km after launch to 600 km by December 9.
The Sputnik 1 rocket booster also reached Earth orbit and was visible from the ground at night. Several
replicas of the Sputnik 1 satellite can be seen at museums in Russia and another is on display in the
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Early ‘Manned’ Space Missions
• Began on October 7, 1958, one year and three days after the Soviet
Union launched Sputnik 1 and was the United States' first manned
• The objectives of the program, which was made up of six manned
flights from 1961 to 1963, were specific:
1) to orbit a manned spacecraft around Earth
2) to investigate and evaluate man's ability to function in space
3) to recover both man and spacecraft safely. However, three weeks
after Alan Shepard's first U.S. human suborbital flight, on May 5,
1961, and with only 15 minutes of U.S. space flight experience,
President John F. Kennedy announced the goal of landing a man
on the moon before the end of the decade. Project Mercury was
American's first "small steps" toward that "Giant Leap for mankind."
• 1st U.S. Human Flight, Suborbital Mission (not a full orbit), 5,134 mph
• Evaluate pilots capabilities, craft maneavors, landing & recovery
• Astronaut: Allan B. Shepard Jr.
• May 5, 1961, lasted 15 minutes
• Water landing
• Name: Freedom" because it was patriotic and "Seven" because it was the
seventh Mercury capsule produced.
• Alan Shepard ‘had to pee’, went in his suit
• Many risks taken, none was quite sure how things would turn out
Liberty Bell 7:
• 2nd U.S. Human Flight, Suborbital Mission, 5,168 mph
• Improved explosive hatch and escape methods, larger viewing window, new
controls (altitude, speed, turns…)
• Astronaut: Gus Grissom
• July 21st, 1961, lasted 16 minutes
• Water landing
• Escape hatch blew without notice and the craft sank to the ocean floor almost
taking Grissom with it
• 1st American to Orbit the Earth, three earth orbits, 17,544 mph
• Astronaut: John H. Glenn Jr.
• The mission objectives were fairly simple by today standards: Place a man into
earth orbit, observe his reactions to the space environment and safely return
him to earth to a point where he could be readily found. The U.S.A. had been
taking a backseat to the U.S.S.R. (Space Race) and it was time for America to
send a man into orbit.
• February 20th, 1962, lasted 4 hours and 55 minutes
• Glenn made his planned star, weather, and landmark observations. Upon re-
entry, Glenn felt extreme heat and saw pieces of the craft fly by. The heat shield
• Six complete earth orbits, 17,549 mph
• The mission objectives included experiments for color visibility and
atmospheric drag. The flight further qualified the Mercury spacecraft
systems for manned orbital operations and provided evidence for
progressing into missions of extended duration and consequently more
demanding systems requirements.
• Astronaut: Water M. Schirra Jr.
• October 3rd, 1962, lasted 9 hours and 13 minutes
• All mission objects were achieved. The craft landed 400 km beyond target.
• 3rd American orbital space flight, six complete orbits, 17,558 mph
• The mission objectives to carefully manage the limited amounts of
electricity and fuel necessary for longer, more complex, missions.
• Astronaut: M. Scott Caprenter
• May 24th, 1962, lasted 4 hours and 56 minutes
• All mission objects were achieved. Landed approx 4.5 miles from target.
• 1st U.S. flight exceeding 24 hours, 22.5 orbits, 17,547 mph
• The mission objectives included a space flight of over 24 hours.
• Astronaut: L. Gordon Cooper Jr.
• May 15th, 1963, lasted 34 hours and 19 minutes
• All mission objects were achieved.
• A transitional step between the pioneering Mercury Program and
the actual landing a man on the moon. Its success was critical to
achieving the goal of reaching the Moon and was not without its
problems and difficulties. The main objectives of the ten Gemini
missions spanning a period of 20 months from 1965 to 1966, were
to learn how to "fly" a spacecraft by
1) maneuvering it in orbit and by
2) rendezvousing and docking with other vehicles, which were
essential skills for the later Apollo missions. One of these missions,
Gemini VIII, nearly killed the man who would go on to be the first
person to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong.
The primary objectives of Gemini 3 were:
1) demonstrate manned orbital flight
2) evaluate the two-man design
3) demonstrate and evaluate the tracking network
4) demonstrate the Orbital Attitude and Maneuvering System (OAMS)
capability in orbital maneuvers and in retrofire backup
5) demonstrate controlled reentry and landing
6) evaluate major spacecraft subsystems
7) demonstrate systems checkout, prelaunch, and launch procedures,
8) demonstrate and evaluate recovery procedures and systems. This was
primarily a testing shakedown for the new, maneuverable Gemini
• Evaluate effects of prolonged space flight.
• Demonstrate and evaluate performance of
spacecraft and systems in 4-day flight.
• Evaluate procedures for crew rest and work
cycles, eating schedules, and realtime flight
• Apollo missions were developed in response to President
Kennedy's challenge to land an astronaut on the Moon by the end
of the 1960's. The missions consisted of twelve piloted launches
and three unpiloted launches between 1967 and 1972.
• Six missions landed on the moon. All manned moon landings were
launched by Saturn V Rocket and consisted of 3 crew. Apollo 4, 5
and 6 were unpiloted test flights flown in 1967 and 1968.
• APOLLO 1 Mission: (January 27, 1967)
Crew: Virgil 'Gus' Grissom, Edward White, Roger Chaffee.
- Crew died when the capsule caught fire during a countdown test.
- The scheduled lift-off was on 21 February 1967.
• APOLLO 7 MISSION: (October 11-22, 1968)
Crew: Walter M. Schirra, Donn F. Eisele and Walter Cunningham
Launch Vehicle: Saturn IB
- Apollo 7 was the first manned Apollo launch.
- First live TV broadcast from a manned spacecraft.
• APOLLO 8 MISSION: (December 21-27, 1968)
Crew: Frank Borman, James A. Lovell Jr. and William A. Anders
Launch Vehicle: Saturn V
- The Apollo 8 astronauts were the first
astronauts lunched by Saturn V rocket.
- First humans to orbit the Moon.
• APOLLO 9 MISSION: (March 3-13, 1969)
Crew: James A. McDivitt, David R. Scott and
Russell L. Schweickart
Command Module: Gumdrop.
Lunar Module: Spider.
- First Flight test of Lunar Module (LM) in Earth Orbit. The Apollo Lunar Module was
the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft which held a crew of two from lunar
orbit to the surface and back. Six such craft successfully landed on the Moon
- First space walk testing new lunar space suit.
• APOLLO 10 MISSION: (May 18-26, 1969)
Crew: Stafford, Young and Cernan
Command Module: Charlie Brown
Lunar Module: Snoopy
- Tested the Lunar Module in Lunar Orbit.
• APOLLO 11 MISSION: (July 16-24, 1969)
Crew: Neil Armstrong, Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, Michael Collins
Command Module: Columbia
Lunar Module: Eagle
Moon Landing Date: 20 July 1969
Landing Site: Sea of Tranquillity - Mare Tranquillitatis
Time on Moon: 22 hours
- Apollo 11 was the first moon landing mission.
- Neil Armstrong was the first astronaut to walk on the moon.
- The USS Hornet aircraft carrier recovered the Apollo 11 crew after their return
from the first lunar landing.
• APOLLO 12 MISSION: (November 14-24, 1969)
Crew: Charles Conrad, Richard F. Gordon Jr, Alan L. Bean
Command Module: Yankee Clipper
Lunar Module: Intrepid
Landing Date: 19 November 1969
Landing Site: Ocean of Storms (Oceanus Procellarum)
- The second moon landing mission.
- Performed first major experiments.
- Retrieved pieces of Surveyor spacecraft.
- Richard Nixon was the first US President
to attend the launch of a manned spacecraft.
He viewed Apollo 12 on November 14, 1969.
• APOLLO 13 MISSION: (Near Disaster: April 11-17, 1970)
Crew: James A. Lovell (Commander), John L. Swigert Jr. and Fred
W. Haise Jr.
Command Module: Odyssey
Lunar Module: Aquarius
* Apollo 13: Deep Space abort due to explosion in Service Module.
Lunar Module used as lifeboat. The Crew returned safely.