On Jan. 31, 1971, NASA despatched the Apollo 14 mission skyward.
The eighth crewed mission within the Apollo program (and third one to succeed in the floor of the Moon) lifted off on a Sunday afternoon with NASA astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell on board. They reached the floor of Earth’s solely pure satellite tv for pc 5 days later.
The mission led by Commander Shepard and his crew was one thing of a second take. One 12 months earlier, the notorious Apollo 13 mission got here to a untimely finish as a result of gear failures. The astronauts on board made it again dwelling, however they weren’t capable of stage a lunar touchdown as supposed.
Apollo 14 was the make-up try, with the mission’s lunar touchdown set to the touch down in the identical location that the earlier mission aimed to succeed in. As soon as once more the mission was virtually scuttled when Shepard and his crew handled gear failures. However every thing labored out in the long run.
The Jan. 31 launch kicked off simply after 4:00 p.m. ET, following a 40-minute climate delay. The entire mission was initially meant to proceed in 1970, although it was delayed following the occasions of the Apollo 13 mission and subsequent investigation. (The sooner mission is notably the topic of Steven Spielberg’s 1995 blockbuster, Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks.)
Days later, on Feb. 5 and after spending a day in orbit across the Moon, the mission’s lunar lander touched down at a touchdown web site within the Fra Mauro Formation. The placement was chosen due to its proximity to a crater that was to be investigated as a part of the mission.
Shepard’s first phrases as he set foot on the Moon have been: “And it has been a good distance, however we’re right here.” The crew spent roughly a day there, gathering lunar samples and accumulating nonetheless and video imagery to be reviewed as soon as they received again dwelling.
In what was maybe essentially the most memorable second of the mission, Shepard pulled out two golf balls and the pinnacle of a golf membership, the latter of which he affixed to one of many crew’s sampling instruments. He used his makeshift golf membership to take some swings on the balls, knocking one out for “miles and miles and miles,” as he described it.
Shepard in the end discard the sampling software portion of his makeshift membership, throwing it as if it have been a javelin. He introduced the golf membership head again dwelling, although, and it resides right here on Earth to at the present time in New Jersey’s U.S. Golf Affiliation Museum. The footage of Shepard swinging his “membership,” seen under, is a real piece of historical past.
Apollo 14 left the lunar floor within the early afternoon of Feb. 6, arriving again dwelling three days in a while Feb. 9. The mission’s command module, dubbed Kitty Hawk (the place the Wright Brothers first took flight), splashed down within the South Pacific Ocean, the place the astronauts have been recovered.