Apollo to the Moon

Getting to the Moon

Steps on the Flight Path

This graphic details the sequence of major events during the flight of Apollo 11 to the Moon and back to Earth, July 16-24, 1969. The journey begins with launch of the Saturn V from Earth (shown on the left). The trip to the Moon and the landing are depicted on the trajectory at the bottom of the graphic. Lift off from the Moon and the journey back to Earth are depicted on the trajectory at the top of the graphic.

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Checklists & Flight Plans

These checklists, log books, and charts were used by the crew members of the Apollo 11 lunar mission flight in July 1969. The alternate checklists and flight plans would have been used if there were an emergency that caused the need to deviate from the original flight plans.


Apollo Operations Checklist
Apollo Operations Checklist
This is the Command Module Operations checklist used by astronaut and Command Module Pilot, Michael Collins, on Apollo 11 in July 1969.
Apollo Lunar Module System Activation Checklist
Apollo Lunar Module System Activation Checklist
This system activation checklist was used by astronaut and Lunar Module Pilot, Neil Armstrong, on Apollo 11 in July 1969.
Apollo Alternate Flight Plan
Apollo Alternate Flight Plan
This flight plan would have been used during the historic Apollo 11 mission if a deviation from the original flight plan had been required.
Apollo Alternate and Contingency Checklist
Apollo Alternate and Contingency Checklist
This checklist would have been used during the historic Apollo 11 mission if a deviation from the original flight plan had been required.

Controls

The main display console faces the three crew couches in the Apollo Command Module. It contains switches, dials, and meters used to control the spacecraft and monitor its performance. Displays and controls for related sub-systems are grouped together. Flight controls are on the left half of the console, systems controls are on the right.


Apollo Command Module, Interior (Cockpit)
Apollo Command Module, Interior (Cockpit)
Main Display Console of Command Module Columbia
Apollo Command Module Main Display
Apollo Command Module Main Display
This console was removed from a command module simulator that was used for astronaut training.

Navigation

Apollo astronauts used three navigation systems to determine the proper flight paths to the Moon and back to Earth. These systems were used jointly or separately. Together they formed the Primary Guidance and Navigation System.

The inertial guidance system included accelerometers that sensed every change in the spacecraft's velocity or direction. An onboard computer received data pertaining to the flight plan from the inertial system and from ground tracking stations on Earth. In addition, the astronauts could give the computer new information while in flight.


Apollo Guidance System Diagram

An optical navigation system consisted of a scanning telescope and a sextant. With these instruments the astronauts could take star sights and plot the position of their spacecraft. All guidance and navigation information was transmitted to Earth-based computers that calculated any necessary course or velocity changes.

This station includes a digital computer that stores data and provides solutions to guidance and navigation problems. The right side of the computer faced into the command module. It contains the eyepieces of the scanning telescope and the sextant and, at the far right, the display and keyboard panel which was used to enter information and display answers. The back of the station connected to the Command Module's systems. Charles Stark Draper Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts developed the Apollo Command Module Computer.

Apollo Guidance System
Apollo Guidance System

Navigational Aids


Apollo Earth Orbital Map
Apollo Earth Orbital Map
This map was used in conjunction with the optical and computer systems of the Apollo spacecraft for the astronauts to navigate Earth's orbit.
Apollo Star Chart
Apollo Star Chart
Apollo 11 astronauts used this star chart while training for their 1969 lunar landing mission. It shows the locations, names, and code numbers for a select group of stars. The astronauts would key those numbers into their Apollo Guidance Computer while taking readings with a sextant.


Apollo Docking Target
Apollo Docking Target
This target and another mounted on the Apollo 11 lunar module were used to align the Apollo 11 spacecraft during docking maneuvers.