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February 5th, 1971 Apollo 14 crew lands on the moon

Image Credit: NASA/Apollo Archive


Shepard Back in Space! Remembering Apollo 14 as Commander Alan Shepard, CMP Stuart Roosa, and LMP Edgar Mitchell launched on their nine-day mission to Fra Mauro on January 31, 1971. 

Shepard was the oldest U.S. astronaut when he made his trip aboard Apollo 14. He is the only astronaut from Project Mercury (the original Mercury Seven) to reach the Moon.

The crew experienced several difficulties during their flight to the moon as six attempts were required with docking to the LM before a “hard dock” was achieved. Prior to the PDI for the Antares landing, a short in the LM computer abort switch was discovered, which could have triggered an undesired abort during the LM’s descent. A second problem occurred as the LM radar altimeter failed to lock automatically onto the Moon’s surface, depriving the navigation computer of vital information on the vehicle altitude and groundspeed. After the astronauts cycled the landing radar breaker, the unit successfully acquired a signal near 18,000 feet again, just in the nick of time.

Commander Shepard then manually made a pin-point landing closer to its intended target than any of the other six Moon landing missions.

Shepard’s first words, after stepping onto the lunar surface were, "And it’s been a long way, but we’re here."


Concept art for the Millennium Falcon by Joe Johnston from 1975 & 1976.


Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well. You have controlled your fear. Now, release your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me.