Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 38

Apollo 14


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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  31.01.1971
Launch time:  21:03 UTC
Launch site:  Cape Canaveral (KSC)
Launch pad:  39-A
Altitude:  183 - 185 km
Inclination:  31,12°
Undocking CSM-LM:  05.02.1971, 04:50:43 UTC
Moon landing:  05.02.1971, 09:18:11 UTC
Landing point:  3° 38' 43.08" S 17° 28' 16.90" W
Docking CSM-LM:  06.02.1971, 20:35:42 UTC
Landing date:  09.02.1971
Landing time:  21:04 UTC
Landing site:  27° 2' S, 172° 67' W

walkout photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo


No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Shepard  Alan Bartlett, Jr. "Al"  CDR 1 9d 00h 01m  1,5 
2  Roosa  Stuart Allen "Stu"  CMP 1 9d 00h 01m  1,5 
3  Mitchell  Edgar Dean "Ed"  LMP 1 9d 00h 01m  1,5 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Shepard
2  Roosa
3  Mitchell

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Cernan  Eugene Andrew "Gene"  CDR
2  Evans  Ronald Ellwin, Jr. "Ron"  CMP
3  Engle  Joe Henry  LMP

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alternate crew photo

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Launch from Cape Canaveral (KSC). The launch was delayed for the first time in the Apollo history for about 40 minutes due to bad weather. The landing was near of Samoa Island in the Pacific Ocean.

At the beginning of the mission, the CSM Kitty Hawk had difficulty achieving capture and docking with the LM Antares. Repeated attempts to dock went on for 1 hour and 42 minutes, until it was suggested that pilot Stuart Roosa hold Kitty Hawk against Antares using its thrusters, then the docking probe would be retracted out of the way, hopefully triggering the docking latches. This attempt was successful, and no further docking problems were encountered during the mission.
After separating from the command module in lunar orbit, the LM Antares also had two serious problems. First, the LM computer began getting an ABORT signal from a faulty switch. NASA believed that the computer might be getting erroneous readings like this if a tiny ball of solder had shaken loose and was floating between the switch and the contact, closing the circuit. The immediate solution - tapping on the panel next to the switch - did work briefly, but the circuit soon closed again. If the problem recurred after the descent engine fired, the computer would think the signal was real and would initiate an auto-abort, causing the Ascent Stage to separate from the Descent Stage and climb back into orbit. NASA and the software teams at MIT scrambled to find a solution, and determined the fix would involve reprogramming the flight software to ignore the false signal. The software modifications were transmitted to the crew via voice communication, and Edgar Mitchell manually entered the changes (amounting to over 80 keystrokes on the LM computer pad) just in time.
A second problem occurred during the powered descent, when the LM radar altimeter failed to lock automatically onto the moon's surface, depriving the navigation computer of vital information on the vehicle altitude and groundspeed. This was later determined to be an unintended consequence of the software patch. After the astronauts cycled the landing radar breaker, the unit successfully acquired a signal near 18,000 feet (5,500 m), again just in the nick of time. Alan Shepard then manually landed the LM closer to its intended target than any of the other six moon landing missions. Edgar Mitchell believes that Alan Shepard would have continued with the landing attempt without the radar, using the LM inertial guidance system and visual cues. But a post-flight review of the descent data showed the inertial system alone would have been inadequate, and the astronauts probably would have been forced to abort the landing as they approached the surface.

The crew performed the third manned moon landing. The landing site was Fra Mauro. Alan Shepard's moonwalking suit was the first to utilize red bands on the arms and legs and a red stripe on the top of the lunar EVA sunshade "hood", so as to allow easy identification of the commander while on the surface.

Two EVAs were performed by Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell. In the first EVA on February 05, 1971 (4h 48m) they deployed the TV, S-band antenna, the American flag, and the Solar Wind Composition experiment. Other work were to take photos from the LM (named Antares), the lunar surface and the experiments and deploying the Apollo lunar surface experiments package (ALSEP) and the laser-ranging retroreflector. The also performed a seismic experiment.

The second EVA occurred on February 06, 1971 (4h 35m). The second moonwalk was intended to reach the rim of the 1,000-foot (300 m) wide Cone Crater. However, the two astronauts were not able to find the rim amid the rolling terrain of the crater's slopes. Later analysis, using the pictures that they took, determined that they had come within an estimated 65 feet (20 m) of the crater's rim. Images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) show the tracks of the astronauts and the MET come to within 30 m of the rim.
Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell deployed and activated various scientific instruments and experiments and collected almost 100 pounds (45 kg) of lunar samples for return to earth. Other Apollo 14 achievements included: the only use of MET; longest distance traversed by foot on the lunar surface; first use of shortened lunar orbit rendezvous techniques; and the first extensive orbital science period conducted during CSM solo operations.
The astronauts also engaged in less serious activities on the Moon. Alan Shepard smuggled on board a six iron golf club head which he could attach to the handle of a lunar excavation tool, and two golf balls, and took several one-handed swings (due to the limited flexibility of the EVA suit). He exuberantly exclaimed that the second ball went "miles and miles and miles" in the low lunar gravity, but later estimated the distance as 200 to 400 yards (180 to 370 m). Edgar Mitchell then threw a lunar scoop handle as if it were a javelin.

During that time astronaut Stuart Roosa, orbiting the moon in the CSM Kitty Hawk, took astronomy and lunar photos, including photos of the proposed Descartes landing site for Apollo 16.

The reentry was without any problems and they came down about 7 kilometers far from the recovery ship USS New Orleans. The Apollo 14 astronauts were the last lunar explorers to be quarantined on their return from the Moon.

Photos / Drawings



more photos from the moon


Last update on July 20, 2013.