20 Facts About Apollo 12


Apollo 12 was the sixth crewed flight in the United States Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon.

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Apollo 12 would have attempted the first lunar landing had Apollo 11 failed, but after the success of Neil Armstrong's mission, Apollo 12 was postponed by two months, and other Apollo missions put on a more relaxed schedule.

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Shortly after being launched on a rainy day at Kennedy Space Center, Apollo 12 was twice struck by lightning, causing instrumentation problems but little damage.

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Commander of the all-Navy Apollo 12 crew was Charles "Pete" Conrad, who was 39 years old at the time of the mission.

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Apollo 12 was selected in the second group of astronauts in 1962, and flew on Gemini 5 in 1965, and as command pilot of Gemini 11 in 1966.

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Command Module Pilot Richard "Dick" Gordon, 40 years old at the time of Apollo 12, became a naval aviator in 1953, following graduation from the University of Washington with a degree in chemistry, and completed test pilot school at Patuxent River.

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Slayton created the support crews because James McDivitt, who would command Apollo 12 9, believed that, with preparation going on in facilities across the US, meetings that needed a member of the flight crew would be missed.

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Usually low in seniority, they assembled the mission's rules, flight plan, and checklists, and kept them updated; For Apollo 12, they were Gerald P Carr, Edward G Gibson and Paul J Weitz.

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Landing site selection process for Apollo 12 was greatly informed by the site selection for Apollo 11.

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Since Apollo 12 was to attempt the first lunar landing if Apollo 11 failed, both sets of astronauts trained for the same sites.

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The Apollo 12 training included over 400 hours per crew member in simulators of the Command Module and of the LM.

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Apollo 12 spacecraft consisted of Command Module 108 and Service Module 108, Lunar Module 6, a Launch Escape System, and Spacecraft-Lunar Module Adapter 15 .

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Apollo 12 Lunar Surface Experiments Package, or ALSEP, was a suite of scientific instruments designed to be emplaced on the lunar surface by the Apollo 12 astronauts, and thereafter operate autonomously, sending data to Earth.

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Apollo 12 was the first mission to carry an ALSEP; one would be flown on each of the subsequent lunar landing missions, though the components that were included would vary.

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The cask would survive re-entry on Apollo 12 13, sinking in the Tonga Trench of the Pacific Ocean, apparently without radioactive leakage.

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Apollo 12 was the first crewed spacecraft to take a hybrid free-return trajectory, that would require another burn to return to Earth, but one that could be executed by the LM's Descent Propulsion System if the SPS failed.

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Use of a hybrid trajectory meant that Apollo 12 took 8 hours longer to go from trans-lunar injection to lunar orbit.

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Apollo 12 was astonished to see the Snowman right where it should be, meaning they were directly on course.

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Apollo 12 took over manual control, planning to land the LM, as he had in simulations, in an area near the Surveyor crater that had been dubbed "Pete's Parking Lot", but found it rougher than expected.

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Apollo 12 was the likely commander of Apollo 18, but that mission was canceled and he did not fly in space again.

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