Apollo 17 was the final Apollo mission to the moon, the eleventh
manned Apollo mission, the first night launch and the sixth and
final lunar landing mission of the NASA Apollo program.
Apollo 17 broke several records set by previous flights, including
longest manned lunar landing flight, largest lunar sample return,
longest total lunar surface extravehicular activities and longest
time in lunar orbit.
The Apollo 17 crew were:
1. Eugene Cernan (Commander) - flew as co-pilot of Gemini 9
in June 1966 and as lunar module pilot of Apollo 10 in May 1969.
2. Ronald B. Evans (Command Module Pilot) - He served
as a member of the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 7 and
Apollo 11 flights and as backup command module pilot for
Apollo 14. Evans' first and only space flight was as command
module pilot of Apollo 17.
3. Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmitt (Lunar Module Pilot) - Schmitt was a
geologist and was the first scientist to walk on the
Moon. He was on the backup
Apollo 15 and was to fly as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 18.
After the cancellation of the Apollo 18 moon mission he was
assigned to fly on Apollo 17, the last lunar mission.
The backup crew for Apollo 17 were:
1. John Young (Commander) - flew on Gemini 3, Gemini 10, Apollo
10, Apollo 16 and on Space Shuttle STS-1 and STS-9.
2. Stuart Roosa (Command Module Pilot) - flew on Apollo 14.
3. Charles Duke (Lunar Module Pilot) - flew on Apollo 16.
Apollo 17 Mission
The mission was a J-class mission and featured the Lunar Rover.
Three lunar surface excursions were conducted. The mission
returned 110.5 kg (243.6 lb) of samples from the Moon. Three moon
walks were performed.
The mission was launched on 7 December 1972 by a
Saturn V rocket from
LC 39A launch pad from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The Command
Module was called America and the Lunar Module was called
Ronald B. Evans remained in lunar orbit in the Command Module
while the other two crew members landed on the moon. The Lunar
Module landed on the moon on December 11, 1972 at Taurus-Littrow.
The landing site was on the south-eastern rim of the Mare
Serenitatis, in the south-western Montes Taurus.
Schmitt and Cernan collected a record 109 kg (240 pounds) of rocks
during three Moonwalks. The crew travelled for 34 km (21 miles)
through the Taurus-Littrow valley in their lunar rover, discovered
orange-colored soil and left the most comprehensive set of
instruments in the ALSEP on the lunar surface. Eugene Cernan was
the last man to walk on the
The splashdown point was 350 nautical miles (650 km - 17° 52′ S,
166° 7′ W) south east of the Samoan Islands and 6.5 km (4 miles)
from the recovery ship USS Ticonderoga. Apollo 17 landed
approximately 640 meters from its target point.
Did you know?
* The Command module is currently on display at NASA's Johnson Space Center, in
Houston, Texas. The lunar module impacted the Moon on December 15, 1972 at
06:50:20.8 UT (1:50 AM EST) at 19.96 N, 30.50 E.
* The Command Module capsule ‘America’ is currently on display at Space Center
Houston in Houston, Texas.
Apollo 17 was the last crewed NASA mission to land on the moon in the 20th
century. The next crewed NASA mission to land on the Moon will happen well
beyond 2018 using the
Crew Exploration Vehicle
(the sooner, the better).