The Apollo Program was designed to land humans on the Moon and bring them safely back to Earth, but America's goals went beyond that. They included:

  • Establishing the technology to meet other national interests in space.
  • Achieving preeminence in space for the United States.
  • Carrying out a program of scientific exploration of the Moon.
  • Developing man's capability to work in the lunar environment.

Learn more about the Apollo Program:

  • Apollo 11: Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. flag on the Moon

    Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 Extravehicular Activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. The Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the Moon. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this picture with a 70mm Hasselblad lunar surface camera. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the LM, the "Eagle", to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar-orbit.

    NASA GRIN #GPN-2001-000012

  • Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia

    The Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

  • Mobile Quarantine Facility (Apollo 11) at the Udvar-Hazy Center
    This Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) was one of four built by NASA for astronauts returning from the Moon.
  • Armstrong Apollo 11 Spacesuit

    This spacesuit, worn by Armstrong during his EVA (extra-vehicular activity) on the moon in 1969 is a model A7L suit and was tailored especially for him.

  • Lunar Module 2 in Exploring the Moon

    Lunar Module 2 is one of two remaining lunar landers built for the early Apollo missions. A video camera mounted in the spacecraft enables you to look around inside.

  • Earthrise from Apollo 8

    Earthrise as seen from Apollo 8 spacecraft while orbiting the Moon in December, 1968.

  • Lunar Touchrock in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

    This lunar sample was cut from a rock collected on the surface of the Moon during the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. Found near the landing site in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow, it is an iron-rich, fine-textured volcanic rock called basalt. It is nearly 4 billion years old.

  • Apollo 11 Photograph - Buzz Aldrin

    This photograph was taken during Apollo 11, the first manned mission to land on the Moon. The photograph shows lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin standing on the lunar surface.  Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, who took the photograph, and the lunar lander can be seen reflected in Aldrin's visor.  This image is one of the most popular photographs taken during the Apollo program.

  • Bootprint

    Wearing special lunar boot overshoes, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin stepped onto the moon on July 20, 1969, and made this now-famous footprint.

Apollo to the Moon

Explore the history of Apollo and the decision to go to the Moon in our Apollo to the Moon exhibition.

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Apollo to the Moon

The Apollo Program

Learn about each of the crewed missions of the Apollo Program.

Apollo 11

View objects, multimedia, an interactive timeline, and share memories of the first mission to land humans on the Moon.

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Apollo 11

Online Conference

Apollo Space Program. Enjoy these conference recordings of Smithsonian experts presenting the challenges of the Apollo Program and examining the remarkable technologies that made the Moon landings possible.

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Online Conference


Apollo Lectures: The Museum welcomes crew members and mission controllers to reflect on their careers and share stories.

Book Talk (Video)

Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut's Journey to the Moon Book Talk with Al Worden, moderated by space history curator, Allan Needell.

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Book Talk (Video)