launch. Photo courtesy of NASA.
Apollo command module was flown by American astronauts
Tom Stafford, Deke Slayton and Vance Brand to rendezvous
with a Russian Soyuz spacecraft parked in orbit around
the Earth. Although built to fly to the moon as Apollo
18 its mission was changed when funding was cut for the
Apollo program. The Science Centerís Apollo Space Capsule
is on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air
and Space Museum.
Launch date: July
entire ASTP crew included American astronauts Thomas Stafford
(standing, left); Donald K. “Deke” Slayton (seated,
left) and Vance D. Brand (seated, center) and Russian cosmonauts
Aleksey A. Leonov (standing, right) and Valeriy N. Kubasov
Initial docking with Soyuz: July
Altitude at time of docking: 222
km (138 miles)
Duration of initial docking: 44
Final undocking with Soyuz: July
Apollo Command Module splashdown: July
Duration of Apollo flight: 9
days, 1 hour, 28 minutes, 24 seconds
Number of orbits for Apollo Command
Distance traveled for Apollo
Command Module: 5,990,000 kilometers (3,700,000
Launch vehicle: Saturn
Apollo ASTP Command Module and the Russian Soyuz
Spacecraft in Earth orbit. Photo courtesy of NASA.
Crew transfer between Apollo
and Soyuz: The atmospheric pressure and gas
composition inside the Apollo command module differed from
that used inside the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The American
spacecraft used a pure oxygen environment at one-third atmospheric
pressure (5 psi). The Soyuz used an 80-percent nitrogen 20-percent
oxygen environment at a pressure of one full atmosphere (14.7
psi). In order to allow safe transfer between vehicles the
Russian and American engineering teams jointly created a docking
module that was inserted between the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft.
Prior to docking with the Apollo command module (that was linked
to the docking module) the Russian crew lowered their cabin
atmospheric pressure from a full atmosphere to two-thirds atmosphere.
After docking with the Soyuz, the American crew transferred
from the Apollo spacecraft into the docking module and closed
the hatch behind them. They added nitrogen to the pure oxygen
environment which raised the pressure inside the docking module
from one-third atmosphere to two-thirds atmosphere and resulted
in a gaseous composition that matched the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
The astronauts could then safely open the hatch between the
docking module and the Soyuz.
American Aviation, Inc. which became North American Rockwell
Corporation in September 1967 and then Rockwell International
Corporation in February 1973.
The Science Center's Apollo Capsule
The Apollo capsule on display at the Science Center is the actual Apollo-Soyuz Command Module that went into space in July 1975. The capsule is on loan to us from the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Apollo-Soyuz: An Orbital Partnership Begins
This NASA page features actual video from the Apollo-Soyuz mission and places
the event in historical context, as part of the thawing of the Cold War between the Americans and Soviets.
The Apollo Missions
This site from NASA includes a brief overview of the history of the Apollo space program, and offers links to more resources, including images and video.