Space Program, Going to the Moon

Name of Author:


Name of Tutor:

Date of Submission:

Space Program, Going to the Moon


Considerably, the desire to land on the moon and other space surfaces had been one of the greatest fascinations humans had till the 13th of September 1959. On this on this date, the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 Mission (Congress of the U.S 50), a spacecraft designed to travel through space and land on the earth’s moon became the first successful mission to the moon after thirty six hours of travel. Notably, this was also the first successful landing by human oriented technology on any extra-terrestrial surface other than the earth. Thus, it formed a basis for information, a background for research, and the centre-stage of activities that would target the moon and other space surfaces. Besides this attempt, there have been at least one hundred and twenty one other attempts before and after the Luna 2 Mission. It is worth noting that some were successful, partially successful, failed, or had no information presented about them after departing from the earth because communication could not be established and they were never traced. Although some reasons for failures are unclear, common reasons included spacecraft failure and launch failure with various specific details. In sum, all these added to the bulk of information about the moon, interests and projects on moon landing.

Spacecrafts for Travelling to the Moon

Any successful moon landing must obey the operational forces that work between the earth and the moon. Considerably, the greatest challenges relate to gravitational force challenges and trajectory calculation. Considered in terms of ability, it is only rockets that can currently overcome the earth’s gravity successfully and yet continue to move successfully while within the space. Thus, different aeronautical and astronaut units concerned with space exploration from different countries have come up with different rockets for this purpose. Although the principles of operation of these machines depend on the same mechanics, their abilities and capacities differ significantly.

The most famous of these is the Apollo, and specifically the Apollo 11 which landed Neil Armstrong as the first man on moon (Higgins 34). As described by Higgins, this spacecraft had three major parts that facilitated its movement in various ways. These included the first part of operation referred to as a Command Module, the second part providing services like oxygen, power and water, referred to as the service Module and a final part to aid landing on the moon which was called the Lunar Module. These parts were to separate for successful entry into the Lunar Orbit (Higgins 54). This was used by NASA and Americans. The next rocket is the Luna type. Produced by the Soviet Union, the first Luna landing was achieved by the Luna 2 Mission which was unmanned. These spacecrafts were made and designed from the R-7 Semyorka module that had earlier on been designed by Russians for the Soyuz rocket type. Another Luna rocket type achieving successful moon landing is the Luna 3. The Atlas-Agena was also an American type used for space landing and travel. In its design, it had an expandable launching system. This was made from a missile system with a high ability of escape velocity.

Other spacecrafts used for lunar explorations include the Thor DM-18 Able, the Juno II, the Atlas-D Able, the Atlas LV-3 Agena-B, the Molniya-L, the Molniya-M, the Atlas LV-3C Centaur-D, the Delta E1, the Proton-K/D, the Saturn V, the N1, the Delta 1913, the Mu-3S-II, the Athena II, and the H-IIA 2022 among many others. It is worth noting that satellite communication, orbiting ability, selectrocentriciity, pathway mission, impactful landing, radiation and numerous other factors have to be considered in the construction of such rockets and lunar orbiteers.

Trajectory and Landing Considerations

As reviewed by JinLing, et al., numerous elements play various roles in determining geological and trajectorial paths taken to land successfully on the moon. Most outstanding considerations in this case relate to the space vehicle paths, the process of landing on the moon, telemetry of space and the effect of earth to moon gravitational variance, exploration issues and dimensional imaging in travel (1241). Emergently, positional analysis and related techniques help in determining satellite controlled landing on the moon by various space crafts. In this process, the system helps in locating the trajectory and determining the exact coordinates that allow safe and positional surface landing. Considering the case of Chang’E-1 (CE-1) landing of March 2009, the use of radio ranges played a pertinent role. Notable is the fact that such can still end with delayed signals that may create errors in positioning (1244).

Based on the tracking observations of radio ranges and VLBI delays of Chang’E-1 (CE-1) satellite during the controlled landing on the Moon on March 1, 2009, the landing trajectory and the coordinates of the landing point are determined by positioning analysis. They may also cause various uncertainties in relation to tangential direction and three dimensional imaging and positioning.

Another text considering landing issues on lunar surface bases its projections on the Lunar Lander, and issues related to Soft-Landing and Stability (Qing, et al. 152). Major considerations relate to suspension in relation to topography, and stability at the time of landing. Soft-Landing for success is analysed through the kinetic model and the parametric models associated with the Lunar Lander. In essence, these relate to landing velocity, the yaw angle of landing, the lunar spacecraft inclination, gradients of various slopes. Thus, in the case of Luna one, the trajectory had to be a curve as considerations were made on the effect of the earth and the moon’s gravitational force. There were three possible time travels, which could be either 12 hours, 36 hours, or 60 hours as estimated by the possibilities that landing was to take place when the moon is directly above the horizon at the Soviet Union. In this respect, launching had to be placed in contrasting sides of the earth and the moon, occurring directly opposite one another.

Moon Surface Conditions

A presentation by Harley on the surface conditions of the moon reveals some very interesting information about the space body that would interest all astronauts and scientists with interest in visiting the moon (2-12). In its structure, the moon presents two hemispheres. According to Haley, these are un-proportionately asymmetrical in nature. The density and cratering pattern on the surface present properties that would probably be used to tell the age of the moon. As argued by this author, any extra-terrestrial body that has numerous and deep craters should be considerably older than those with rather flat surfaces. Unlike the earth, the moon has larger craters which probably indicate that it could be older than the earth.

Yet, the density of the moon’s surface differs substantially with that of the earth, the moon being approximately 2.4 grams per cubic centimetre, whereas that of the earth is averagely 5.5 grams per cubic centimetre. Geologically, the earth presents more of sedimentary rocks while the moon has more ingenious rocks. Perhaps the cause of this is the relation to the presence of water and other erosional materials on earth yet their significant absence in the moon. Generally, moon’s surface is mostly basalt, breccias, and lunar soils. These soils contain calcium, aluminium, silicon, and titanium with deprived amounts of hydrogen. There are abundant radioactive elements, which present advantageous properties to researcher as they are used to tell material age through radioactive dating. In some analysis of such examples brought to the earth by the trip of Apollo 13, it is predictable that the moon could be three and a half billion years old.


Moon landing had previously been one of the greatest preoccupations of humanity. When man landed on moon for the first time, it was an exciting issue for the whole world. Despite the fact that this was achieved, the conditions on moon are not favourable and as a result, men have never spent much time on moon in all the landings. Nonetheless, the landings helped to unravel various mysteries about the moon, its surface conditions and the composition of materials in the moon. Because of this, various options are being reviewed by scientists. It is worth noting that the journey to the moon is not simple and easy. This is because there are numerous operational considerations relating to instruments of travel, space conditions, landing, energy provision, and general safety. Ensuring a successful trip to the moon still remains a nightmare. Markedly, over fifty of the more than two hundred attempts have failed. This complicates the possibility of imagining mass movement to the moon, even if the conditions had been favourable. All the same, visiting the moon has opened doors for more research and improved experiences for inventions. Considering that humans have outstanding interest on Mars and other extra-terrestrial bodies, the moon episodes will provide a background and basis for continued research.

Annotated Bibliography

Exploring the Moon and Mars: Choices for the Nation. Washington: Congress of the U.S., Office of Technology Assessment, 1991. Print.

‘Exploring the Moon and Mars: Choices for the Nation’ assesses the possibility of using technology to achieve a moon landing. It explores the potentiality of robot technology in exploration procedures. I prefer this book since it forecast on expectations based on the test analysis of human technology back in 1959. Further, it discusses the reasons behind US attempts and interest in the moon exploration in the aftermath of Soviet attempt.

Harley, Reverand T. Moon Lore. Cincinnati: F+W Media, 2012. Print.

Timothy has conducted an extensive investigation of moon spots which he majorly classify as ‘mythological and mirthsome’. This source analyses the physical characterization of the moon such as rock types, the nature of the craters, soil composition and so on. The anthropomorphic study presented here characterizes the moon as a different heavenly body that could not sustain life. Again, it documents some interesting information about the moon such as double structural hemisphere and the structural characteristics that can be used to age the moon. This is highly relevant in understanding the space programs and preparations that warranted the success of the whole operation.

Higgins, Nadia. Moon Landing. Edina, Minn: ABDO Pub, 2008. Internet resource.

Nadia Higgins gives a vivid description of successful moon landings. The book begins from the preparation phase and possible calculations that were put in place to overcome possible challenges until the final stages. Previous calculations focused on the possible ways of overcoming gravitational force of the earth and moon. Higgins presentation in the book is relevant since it shows a well-coordinated report of study of various opinions and readings from accredited sources. Besides, the book reports on weather elements that could have inhibited operations. I find this source relevant since it presents a good storyline of the entire operations, missile operations and the interested parties, which were mainly the soviets and Americans.

LI, JinLing, et al. “Determination of the Controlled Landing Trajectory of Chang’e-1 Satellite and the Coordinate Analysis of the Landing Point on the Moon.” Chinese Science Bulletin 55.13 (2010): 1240-1245.

In this journal, LI, JinLing, et al. displays astrological skills based on geographic information techniques. This source bases on observation, interpretation, and analysis of tracking instruments by the use tools such radio ranges. The research objective is meant to study the magnitude of escape velocity the duration’s trajectory objects employ. Technically, this journal is relevant in outlining the entire space operations. Thus, it avails a good source information on the movement procedure of the space vehicles, position of landing and some of the major challenges associated with the model choice.

Lin, Qing, et al. “Analysis on Key Influence Factors of Soft-Landing Stability in Lunar Lander. (English).” Journal of Nanjing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics / Nanjing Hangkong Hangtian Daxue Xuebao 44.2 (2012): 152-158.

Lin, Qing, et al. g provides a substantial analysis of soft landing stability in the Lunar lander. The authors present a proper investigation based on outstanding considerations in relation to satellite techniques. The journal relevantly fit this study since it outlines the criterion of soft landing stability through application of kinetic models. . Quing draws major landing issues for various spacecraft used. Considerably, the article focuses on a pragmatic procedure involved while models are applied with respect to soil stability. Ultimately, it furthers in highlighting the possible settling speed direction and the stability of the lagging land.

Works Cited

Exploring the Moon and Mars: Choices for the Nation. Washington: Congress of the U.S., Office of Technology Assessment, 1991. Print.

Harley, Reverand T. Moon Lore. Cincinnati: F+W Media, 2012. Print.

Higgins, Nadia. Moon Landing. Edina, Minn: ABDO Pub, 2008. Print.

LI, JinLing, et al. “Determination of the Controlled Landing Trajectory of Chang’e-1 Satellite and the Coordinate Analysis of the Landing Point on the Moon.” Chinese Science Bulletin 55.13 (2010): 1240-1245.

Lin, Qing, et al. “Analysis on Key Influence Factors of Soft-Landing Stability in Lunar Lander. (English).” Journal of Nanjing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics/Nanjing Hangkong Hangtian Daxue Xuebao 44.2 (2012): 152-158.