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5 AMAZING FACTS ABOUT The Apollo spacecraft

The Apollo programme cost $200 billion

The initial estimated cost of the Apollo programme was around $7 billion (£4.6 billion), before it was revised to $20 billion (£13.2 billion) by the first NASA administrator, James Webb. By the end of the programme, the 17 missions had cost the US government $23.9 billion (£15.8 billion), around $200 billion (£132 billion) in today’s money.

Apollo 1 met a tragic end

The first manned Apollo mission was scheduled to launch on 21 February 1967 but never made it. During a launch pad test on 27 January, a cabin fire broke out destroying the Command Module and killing all three of its crew: Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee. The widows requested that the test flight be renamed as the first Apollo mission and NASA formally retired the Apollo 1 name.

Apollo’s power could light a city

The energy generated by the Apollo spacecraft’s re-entry into the atmosphere was incredible. It was equivalent to around 86,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is enough to illuminate all of Los Angeles’ street lights for 104 seconds or to briefly lift all the people in the United States nearly 30 centimetres (one foot) off the ground.

Apollo used 3 million litres of fuel

The Apollo lunar programme’s Saturn V launch vehicle used a total of around 5.6 million pounds of propellant (or 960,000 gallons) to land on the Moon. With a fuel efficiency of around 15 miles per gallon, you could drive for nearly 30 million kilometres (18.6 million miles) or 400 times around the Earth. That much fuel aboard the Saturn V increased its weight by 2.55 million kilograms (5.6 million pounds).

NASA erased the Apollo 11 video footage

Unbelievably, the video recording of the original Apollo 11 Moon landing was erased in subsequent years. NASA had a shortage of magnetic tape in the years following the famous 1969 mission and simply recorded over it, kicking themselves 40 years later on the anniversary of the landing, when it wanted to digitally restore the original analogue recording.

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