there are so many hilarious things about the apollo program because they were basically making everything up as they went along.
like, the saturn rocket family wasn’t actually designed for the apollo program. the us army one day just decided “you know what? let’s big a huge fucking rocket. don’t know what we’re gonna put on it, but we’ll think of something.” and then nasa was like “well we wanna go to the moon but we’re gonna need a big huge rocket for that.” and the gao said “you’re building a rocket with nothing to put on it, and you’re looking for a big rocket to go to the moon. you’re together now.”
the original mission plan was to land a giant lander on the moon’s surface that would carry all three astronauts to to moon’s surface and the astronauts would have to climb down a 100 foot ladder. so they said “okay this is the plan and designed the command and service module around that idea, and the engine in that rocket was designed for that mission.
then they came up with an idea that would mean instead of using a hilariously huge rocket like they had planned, they could use a medium-sized rocket like the saturn 5. but this would carry a separate, light-weight lander which would land two people on the moon while the command and service module would stay in orbit.
but this meant that the engine for the CSM was waaaaaay more powerful than it needed to be for use only in orbit and not having to lift off from the lunar surface.
one thing you should remember about the apollo astronauts, they were all basically a bunch of frat boys, which has it’s own set of problems that nasa would later rectify for the shuttle program.
on apollo 7, wally schirra had a head cold and since he had been planning to retire after the mission, he got really irritable with houston and basically just started talking smack back to houston over having to do a tv broadcast from space. when it came time for re-entry, wally didn’t want to wear a helmet during reentry because he needed to be able to pop his ears and sinuses as the air pressure changed, and he couldn’t do that in a helmet.
none of the apollo 7 crew ever flew again.
apollo 8 was a mission that nasa threw together at the last minute because the ussr had tested the N-1 rocket which was gonna go to the moon, the N-1 didn’t work and would never work. apollo 8 was supposed to test the lunar module in orbit, but that wasn’t ready so they made apollo 8 into apollo 9 and got rid of a manned high-earth orbit mission that had been planned. the new mission for apollo 8 that nasa had improvised was to launch a saturn 5 with a dummy weight where the lunar module would be, and for the command and service module to go orbit the moon and come back.
apollo 9 was the original apollo 8 mission and was there to test the lunar module in earth orbit. one of the astronauts, the lunar module pilot, was a guy named “rusty
shackleford schweickart” they were supposed to test the new space suits and portable life support system backpacks on the first day. unfortunately, rusty had space sickness his first day and was feeling kinda queasy, so that got pushed back. nasa didn’t know a whole lot about space sickness at the time, and they didn’t realize that about half of the people who go up into space get it, and that it usually passes after a day or so. sadly, since this wasn’t understood, schweickart was basically blacklisted from being an astronaut after this.
on apollo 10, SOMEBODY let loose a turd that just floated around the cabin and nobody would admit to who did the poo, leading to one of the astronauts chasing after it with a napkin to dispose of it. who did it? who did the poo?
on apollo 11 the water that the crew was drinking was actually the waste products of the fuel cells which provided electrical power, but one of the problems was that it was FULL of hydrogen bubbles trapped inside. this meant that the apollo 11 crew was pretty much farting all the time.
apollo 12’s backup crew managed to sneak some playboy pictures into the astronauts checklists while they were on the moon. so pete conrad and al bean, while on the moon looked at their checklists of “things to do on the moon.” turn the page and oh look there is HARDCORE PORNOGRAPHY HERE. it took 2 missions and you guys are already sneaking porn down to the moon.
apollo 13 as we all know, didn’t land on the moon, but did get a sexy tom hanks movie instead. but! because the lunar module was going to be re-entering the earth’s atmosphere, there were some experiments that were supposed to have been left on the moon’s surface that was going to burn up in the atmosphere. these surface experiments were powered by a radioisotope thermal generator, which uses the heat generated by the decay of plutonium-238. so there were legit concerns that this could have created a radioactive cloud in the atmosphere. it didn’t, the fuel casks stayed intact as they were designed to do and are still sitting at the bottom of a trench somewhere in the pacific.
(if you’re worried about radioactivity, don’t be, water is very good at absorbing radiation. like if you say in an inner tube on top of the pool of a nuclear reactor, you would be exposed to more radiation from outer space than from the reactor itself)
on apollo 14, the backup crew had a parody patch made, which showed wile e coyote with a huge grey beard approaching the moon on a rocket, only to discover the roadrunner already there with the words “beep beep” on top. because the backup crew gets to set the spacecraft up for the prime crew, they hid these patches basically everywhere inside the command module and the lunar module. alan shepard even had one stuck on the back of his life support backpack during the first spacewalk.
on apollo 15, the crew decided to make a lil bit of extra money and so they snuck on board a bunch of stamp covers onto the spacecraft, the idea being that when they got home, they’d sign them all and sell them for money some time after the apollo program since they had been in space / to the moon. well, the dealer who they had made the agreement with decided to sell them immediately, and people found out about it, and it caused a pretty big ruckus. and so none of the apollo 15 crew ever flew in space again.
for apollo 16, nasa added a lot of citrus to the diets of the astronauts, thinking that some health problems on apollo 15 were caused by a deficiency of potassium. however, this meant that with that much citrus in their diet, the astronauts were farting constantly. commander john young even was bitching about it in some very colorful language to the lunar module pilot charlie duke. what young and duke didn’t realize, was that as they were complaining about having the farts and the amounts of citrus they were drinking, they’re microphone was on, and broadcasting. so the entire world got to hear about how john young hadn’t “had this much citrus fruit in 20 years, and in another 12 fucking days” he wouldn’t have any more.
on apollo 17, harrison schmitt was the first geologist to land on the moon, and one of the last people to land on it. however, he was also kinda clumsy, and while on the moon he tended to trip and fall over. a lot. seriously. anyway, he went back to new mexico and now he’s a climate change denier.