You Might as Well be Walking in Space (1970s)

Jan 7, 20231970, Apollo 11, Astronauts, communication, Communism, Cosmonauts, Socialism, Soviet, Space, Space Exploration, Space Race, World

Previously I covered the various space missions for the 1960s. This article will highlight the missions that were taken in the 1970s. Enjoy the ride!

February 1971, Apollo 14 with astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell did two moonwalks. ( The first was on the 5th and it lasted for 4 hours and 47 minutes whereby they deployed ALSEP, collected more core samples, and lots of moon rocks to observe once back on earth. They also set out the modular equipment stowage assembly, set up the full-color camera, and collected some contingency samples to bring back home. On the 6th they walked nearly a mile up to Cone Crater, took pictures, deployed a portable magnetometer, hit a few golf balls with the modified tool, and collected more rock samples.

Apollo 15 was sent up in July 31st, 1971. Astronauts David Scott and James Irwin took the Lunar Rover for a 5.6 mile spin with camera rolling across the moon toward Elbow Crater and St. George Crater taking pictures and collecting samples. (  On August 1st they located a rock that was found to be more than 4.5 billion years old during their 6.8 miles sojourn across the surface of the moon! This sample was called Genesis Rock. The trek included stops at: Apennine Front, Dune Crater, and Spur Crater. They also performed some work on ALSEP before heading back to the spacecraft. On August 2nd the duo took their last ride in the Lunar Rover a short distance (2.8 miles) to Hadley Rille, Scarp and Rim Craters, and the Terrace searching for more samples to collect and taking pictures of their adventure. On August 5th they used the service module to take three trips to the Scientific Instrument Module where they recovered film cassettes from their panoramic cameras and examined the SIMs for any anomalies.

In April of 1972 Apollo 16 took flight landing on the moon. ( Astronauts John Young and Charles Duke took a ride in the Lunar Rover to Spook, Flag, and Buster Craters, deployed the ALSEP, collected more rock and soil samples, and took pictures. At Buster Crater they deployed the portable lunar magnetometer. That was on the 21st. On the 22nd they trekked to Stone Mountain, which was approximately 7.2 miles away. They stopped numerous times to collect samples and take pictures. Palmetto, North Ray, and End Crater were the stops on the 23rd. While at North Ray they hopped out of the Lunar Rover and walked over to the largest boulder for photos. This is called House Rock. They also set a record for speed with the Lunar Rover going a whopping 10.5 miles per hour! Astronauts Thomas Mattingly and Charles Duke set out to retrieve the panoramic and mapping cameras from the SIM bay on the 25th. Mattingly also operated the microbial ecology evaluation device.

Apollo 17 was launched on December 11th, 1972. Eugene Cernan, Harrison Schmidt, and Ronald Evans were the astronauts aboard. ( They did not have enough time that day for much, but they still managed to take the Lunar Rover 2.2 miles away to collect more soil and rock samples and visit the Emory Crater, as well as, deploy the ALSEP. The following day they went over 5 miles toward South Massif, Hole-in-the Wall, Ballet, and Shorty Craters to collect samples. They discovered some orange soil during this foray. (13th December), they visited a giant split boulder called Tracy’s Rock after Cernan’s daughter, Sculptured Hills, and Van Serg Crater. They made pictures, created oral descriptions, and collected more samples. Their final day, 17th December, they picked up the panoramic and mapping film cassettes and the sounder tapes from the SIM bay on their Service Module and headed home.

Skylab 2 was sent into space in May into June of 1973.  ( Paul Weitz, Pete Conrad, and Joseph Kerwin were on that spacecraft. The first thing to tackle was to remove a strap that prevented the release of a solar array wing aboard Skylab with a long tool. It was a two-man job. (May 26th) On June 7th Kerwin and Conrad needed to cut some debris away from the solar array wing with some extra long cutters. It had been cut off during launch from the space station. This was necessary because the solar wing provided electricity for operation. June 19th Conrad and Weitz fixed an electrical relay with a hammer, and replaced exposed film cassettes with new films in the Apollo Telescope Mount.

August 6th of 1973 Skylab 3 was launched with Owen Garriott, Alan Bean, and Jack Lousma. ( Some of the maintenance they tended included erecting a twin-pole solar shield to give them increased temperature control in Skylab, and in the Apollo Telescope Mount solar observatory, they replaced some film cassettes and installed micrometeoroid detection panels. On the 24th they replaced film in the solar observatory, reconnected the cabling box, and installed a new gyroscope selection box. Again they replaced the film in the solar observatory on September 22nd, as well as, collected the Thermal Coatings Experiment Panel to bring back to earth.

Skylab 4 lasted from December 25th 1973 thru February 3rd, 1974. ( Gerald Carr, William Pogue, and Edward Gibson were aboard. The first task was to repair the antenna on the Earth Resources Experiment Package and replace the films on the solar observatory. That was a big undertaking. Next, they photographed Comet Kohoutek using the extreme ultraviolent electronographic and coronagraph contamination cameras and changing out the films in the solar observatory. That was Christmas Day. A few days later they managed to get a nice picture of Comet Kohoutek as she peeked out from behind the sun and recovered the Thermal Control Coatings Experiment panels. Lastly, they picked up the films from the solar observatory and used the electronographic camera to take another picture of Comet Kohoutek.

The final Skylab mission of this decade was from December 19th, 1977 thru August 15th, 1979. ( That was Skylab 6. This was manned by the Soviets. Their cosmonauts were: Yuri Romanenko, Georgi Grechko, Vladimir Kovalyonok, Aleksandr Ivanchenkov, Valery Ryumin, and Vlsfimir Lyakhov. This was a milestone for them in some respects. This was their first time using the Orlan-D spacesuit and the first time they had been to Skylab in eight long years! A lot had changed since then. They had had a docking failure on the Soyuz 25 and they had to inspect it for damage, luckily none was found. They picked up several samples and experiments that had been part of the Salyut 6 mission and used a color television camera to send pictures to TsUP and performed a bit of other housekeeping.


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