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BBC – Future – Apollo in 50 numbers: The cost



25bn: Total costs for the Apollo program, in US dollars

The president who promised to land a man on the moon at the end of the decade was not enthusiastic about space exploration.

"I am not interested in space," said John F Kennedy to the head of NASA, James Webb, at a private meeting at the White House in 1962. "I think it's good, I think we should know On that, we're ready to spend reasonable money but we're talking about these amazing expenses that make our budget difficult. "

The call, released by John F Kennedy's presidential library, reveals the true motivations of the president: hitting the Soviet Union.

"In my opinion, this is because we are going to do it in this time or in fashion, because we hope to beat them," he says, "and show that we passed them behind, as we did in a few years . " [1

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But the cost of winning the space race would be huge.

The total estimated cost of the Apollo program was about $ 25 billion, which is equivalent to $ 175 billion ($ 140 billion) today. In 1965, Nasa funding reached about 5% of public spending, today it is one tenth of it.

The billions paid for the rockets, spacecraft, computers, ground control and 400,000 people just needed to land 12 men the Moon.

34: Percentage of Government Approval for Missions 1967

Were the $ 25 billion spent on putting men on the moon money good? Not according to US taxpayers in 1967.

Polling data from the time – compiled by Roger Launius of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC and published in the Space Policy magazine – suggests that the US public was convinced that space was a national priority.

Even in 1961, at the height of fear of Soviet domination in space, people – at best – were ambivalent with the funding of Apollo.

A vote in June that year shows an even division between those who benefit the government finances "human travel to the moon" and the courage. In the wake of the Apollo 1 January 1967 fire, which killed three astronauts at the launch, more than half of the respondents were opposite missions.

Winning the project just after Apollo 11 Moon Landing 1969 wide support. Nine months later, after the Apollo 13 disaster, the mission returns mission for mission.

It is a myth that the Apollo mission was a large national general public enterprise

When Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt go on the moon under Apollo 17, nearly 60% of the American public considers that the country spends too much on space . However, at this time, space budgets have already been cut and further moon missions have been canceled.

It is a myth that Apollo's mission was a large national company with general support. If the election is to be believed, most Americans would rather have seen the money spent elsewhere.

100,000: The cost of an Apollo space color in US dollars

The space surfaces designed to walk on the moon must be tough, strong and supportive. It is not surprising that Nasa ordered them from a bra manufacturer – International Latex Corporation.

Each custom suit consisted of several layers of plastic fibers, rubber and metal wires, all covered in Teflon-coated cloth, handstitched by a layer of sleep stress.

Apollo costume had a separate backpack containing life support systems, which effectively made it a stand-alone spacecraft. With flexible joints to give astronauts a good move, it was an important advance on previous designs developed for NASA's former Gemini program.

" The Gemini suit was indeed a problem and undoubtedly, the real limit to what we could do outside the spacecraft," said Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart.

During a spacewalk in March 1969, Schweikart became the first person to test the new outfit and left the space ship Apollo in orbit.

My friends would have to run around the moon's surface and they couldn't pull a heavy umbilical mix a mile over the moon surface – Rusty Schweickart

"It really made me independent of the spacecraft – I had no navel with the command service module I just had a denser to prevent me from drifting away, ”he says.

"My friends would have to run around the moon's surface and they couldn't pull a heavy umbilical line a mile over the moon surface, so we had to have the independent backpack."

For later Apollo missions, spaceflight was upgraded again to improve the flexibility so that the astronauts could sit down in the moon tube.

388m: The Cost of Building the Moon Land, in US Dollars

Before launching Apollo 11 to the Moon, President Richard Nixon prepared two speeches – one for success and another for astronauts stranded.

"Fate has prescribed that the men we nt to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace", the speech went. "These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery, but they also know that there is hope for humanity in their sacrifice."

No one had ever built a vehicle designed to land two people safely in another world and – essentially – get them home again. The lunar module with its fragile frame, thin walls and spindle legs could only work in space.

The lander consisted of two sections, or stages, a descent stage with the landing pads, and a pitch stage with a single engine to carry the astronauts back to the mother vessel of the lunar path. But if the only ascension engine failed, it was not possible to get the crew home.

If it didn't work, you're done – Gerry Griffin

"It was one of the few single point errors we had in the whole Apollo program," said Flight Director, Gerry Griffin. "The Moon Module Engine had to work – it was just A motorbike and a mixer where all that fuel came together – if it didn't work you are done. "

Nasa signed a contract with Grumman Corporation to build the landers for a total cost of $ 388 million, but the construction was full of delays and the first unmanned launch was not until January 1968. For one year, apollo 9 put the astronauts Jim McDivitt and the Rusty Schweikart spacecraft through their steps in the orbit of the earth, then, under Apollo 10, Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan took the lander within 47 000 ft (14.2 km) of the moon surface.

When they returned to the command module, they came into serious trouble.

Flicking a series of switches for steering up the navigation system, prepared e Cernan and Stafford to separate the upper stage from the descent stage. But one of the switches was in the wrong position and when they switched on the engine, the spacecraft ran out of control.

"A tikar's son!" Shouted Cernan.

"I saw the moon's horizon go in different directions, eight times in 15 seconds, he later tells me." Is it scary? Yes, if you have time to be scared but I didn't have time to be scared. "

Fortunately, Stafford took over manual control and stabilized the spacecraft. Engineers later estimated that two seconds more and they would have crashed into the moon.

" We found out we had no hardware problem, we had a public problem " "Cernan says," No matter how good we thought we were, no matter how many times we rehearsed it, you can screw up if you're not careful. "

Although he almost dies, Cernan still finds that he must apologize to the American public for his language.

33.31: Travel expenses that Aldrin demanded for travel to the moon, in US dollars

When they returned to Earth, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins were the most famous people on but it was not reflected in their pay.

Depending on their employment service, Apollo astronauts earned somewhere between $ 17,000 and $ 20,000 a year, equivalent to $ 120,000 (£ 96,200) today and comparable to 21st Century astronaut salaries. TV anchors covering the mission would have earned much more.

There was no danger money to go to the moon, but crews could claim travel expenses. Aldrin, for example, demanded $ 33.31 to cover his journey from home to the nearby Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston … via Florida, the Moon and Hawaii.

Buzz Aldrin has announced everything from insurance, cars and porridge oats

In addition, astronauts also had some of the proceeds from a Nasa deal with the Life magazine.

When they left the space program, many astronauts were snapped up – up to industry for high-paying executive positions Others became TV-pundits or made money through personal appearances and claims.

After becoming cold during his Apollo 7 mission, Wally Schirra became the face of a series of decongestant tablets. Buzz Aldrin has announced everything from insurance, cars and porridge oats. His income today is probably considerably more than it was in 1969.

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