May 30, 2024

Image for article titled Every spaceship that has carried NASA astronauts into space

Photo: NASA

On July 20, 1969, NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. became the first to land on the surface of the Moon.

The Apollo 11 crew rode on board the Apollo Command and Service Module (CSM), named Columbia, which transported them to lunar orbit. From there, the pair hopped on the Lunar Module, which they used to touchdown on the Moon’s surface, while pilot Michael Collins remained on board the CSM spacecraft in orbit. The Lunar Module (LM) took off from the Moon on July 21, and the crew returned to Earth three days later. So in this sense, NASA utilized two crew-rated spacecraft for the mission: CSM and LM, though the latter could only return astronauts back to space from the lunar surface.

The photo above was taken on December 14, 1972, revealing a view of the CSM, which was piloted by Apollo 17 astronaut Ronald Evans, from the Lunar Module, which has astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt on board.

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