Apollo Service Module (mock-up)

The Space Race reached its zenith on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, taking a giant leap for all humankind. This achievement was the result of Project Apollo, one of the most intricate scientific and engineering programs ever devised. The Apollo spacecraft had two million working parts. It was so complex that it was designed system by system, each one integrated into the whole. The Apollo spacecraft was blasted into space atop a Saturn V rocket, itself monstrous in every detail.

Three astronauts flew on each flight, traveling to lunar orbit in the Command and Service Module. Two astronauts would then transfer to the Lunar Module (LM) and descend to the lunar surface. Upon leaving the moon’s surface, the astronauts would rendezvous and transfer back to the Command and Service Module. The LM would then be cast off from the Command and Service Module for the astronauts’ return to Earth.

The Apollo Program sent nine expeditions to the moon. A total of 12 astronauts walked on the moon’s surface during the life of the project, and 12 others circled the moon. Mercury, Gemini, and finally, the Apollo missions, each built on the work that had gone before; each raised our level of knowledge and experience.

The Museum’s display is a full scale model of the Apollo Command and Service Module and is hanging from the ceiling in the Modern Jet & Space Age Gallery.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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