Monday, December 7, 2009

Spacecraft of the Week #13

This week we honor the final Apollo moon flight and make the Apollo 17 Command Module America the Spacecraft of the Week. Launched on Pearl Harbor day, December 7 in the year 1972, Apollo 17 was the most ambitious lunar mission to date. Carrying Gene Cernan, Ron Evans and Harrison Schmidt to the moon, America would remain in orbit with Evans while Cernan and Schmidt lived in the moon for three days. Many people call the "last" mission to the moon. I like to refer to it as the most recent. I refuse to believe that we will not again venture out into that "magnificent desolation". We can do it, if we have the will. And it will drive the economy up more than and faster than any stimulus package.

You can find America at Space Center Houston, Houston Texas. Although displayed in subdued lighting, it is uncovered (save the hatch area covered with plexiglas) so up close detailed photography is possible besides the artistic mood shots (as I try to illustrate). It is also displayed with a flown Mercury (Faith 7) and Gemini (Gemini V), one of only two places in the world where the three flown and manned spacecraft can be seen in the same room, the other being the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. So to honor all those who made the lunar missions possible, and to look forward toward more to come, we salute Apollo 17 as our Spacecraft of the Week.

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