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Ask OCE — February 8, 2006 — Vol. 1, Issue 4

Apollo 14 splashed down on February 9, 1971, after completing a successful manned exploration of the lunar surface. This was the third Apollo mission to land humans on the moon, and the first manned space flight after the near-disaster of Apollo 13.

On February 5, the Apollo 14 lunar module (LM) landed 24 kilometers north of the rim of Fra Mauro crater with Commander Alan Shepard and pilot Edgar Mitchell on board.

The Command and Service Module (CSM) piloted by Stuart A. Roosa orbited 100 kilometers above the moon’s surface. Shepard and Mitchell performed more than nine hours of moonwalks, collecting 98 pounds of lunar surface samples and performing seismic experiments.

The mission achieved several important benchmarks:

  • It was the largest payload placed in lunar orbit.
  • The LM spent a record 33 hours on the lunar surface.
  • The mission saw the first use of the Mobile Equipment Transporter also dubbed the “lunar rickshaw.”
  • The CSM spent more than 66 hours in lunar orbit.
  • The Shepard and Mitchell moonwalks were the longest combined extra-vehicular activities (EVAs) in Apollo history.

Commander Shepard, the only Mercury Program astronaut to reach the moon, took along a makeshift “six iron” golf club and two golf balls. On the moons surface he took a couple of swings, joking that his second shot went “miles and miles and miles,” though the actual distance was 366 yards.

The mission lasted a total of 216 hours, 1 minute, 57 seconds. The Apollo 14 command module “Kitty Hawk” is currently on display as part of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s traveling exhibit.

In This Issue

Message from the Chief Engineer

NASA on the Hill: Comment on the President’s Budget for Science

This Week in NASA History: Apollo 14

Knowledge-Based Approach: GAO Recommends Knowledge-Based Approach to Product Development

What Are Wicked Problems?

View from the Outside: Japan to Launch MTSAT-2

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