Apollo 14 arrived in lunar orbit on Feb. 4, 1971, to prepare for the landing in and exploration of the Fra Mauro highlands. Apollo 14 launched carrying astronauts Commander Alan Shepard, lunar module pilot Edgar Mitchell, and command module pilot Stuart Roosa. Engineers had modified the spacecraft to prevent a recurrence of the accident that crippled Apollo 13 the previous year. After their Saturn V rocket delivered them into a parking orbit around the Earth, the third stage reignited to send them on their way to the Moon. The primary mission objectives to the Fra Mauro region of the Moon centered on deployment of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package, lunar field geology investigations; collection of surface material samples for return to Earth; and deployment of scientific instruments not part of the experiments package. Following their successful nine-day mission, the crew splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Feb. 9.

In this image, engineers in Firing Room 2 of Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Control Center monitor the progress of the Apollo 14 countdown.

50 Years Ago: Apollo 14 Launches to the Moon

Image Credit: NASA





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