Saturday, July 25, 2009

Apollo 14


Date: January 31-February 9, 1971
Commander Alan Shepard (47)
Command Module Pilot
Stuart Roosa (37)
Lunar Module Pilot
Edgar Mitchell (37)

Command Module Call Sign: Kitty Hawk
Lunar Module Call Sign: Antares

Mission Distinctions: Third moon landing; Medical & manufacturing experiments; 95 pounds of geologic specimens returned.
Moon Landing Site: Fra Mauro

Apollo 14 crew
The mission saw the return of Alan Shepard, first American in space, and one of the original "Mercury Seven" astronauts selected by NASA in 1959.

Kitty Hawk refers to the Wright Brothers and Antares is a red star in the Scorpius constellation which is the most visible landmark in the sky during the powered descent to the lunar surface.

Stuart Roosa tried to dock with the lunar module four times, but each time the capture latches failed to connect. On try number five, the two crafts were finally mated in space, just as the crew was considering an EVA to solve the issue.

Apollo 14's landing site near the Fra Mauro crater was the originally planned landing site of Apollo 13 before its deep space abort.

Alan Shepard on the Moon
Time walking on the moon was extended with each trip; Shepard and Mitchell spent over 9 hours on the surface, during which in a moment of levity, Shepard hit two golf balls with a "driver" fashioned out of a piece of his lunar equipment. He also planted the customary flag in the regolith.

After splashdown, the crew underwent the usual isolation, but after this it was decided the moon was indeed lifeless and no future Apollo astronauts were subject to quarantine.

Moon Trees
Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa took several hundred seeds on the flight, many of which were germinated on return to Earth, resulting in the "Moon Trees."

Currently, the Apollo 14 Command Module Kitty Hawk is on display at United States Astronaut Hall of Fame in Titusville, Florida. The ascent stage of the Lunar Module Antares impacted the moon at 3.42 S, 19.67 W, February 7, 1971. The descent stage is still in the Fra Mauro highlands.