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Virtual Apollo 15

Apr 25, 2014

IDIA Lab’s Virtual Apollo 15 is a simulation of the mission which launched on July 26, 1971 from the Kennedy Space Center, at Cape Canaveral, Florida. During the launch, the S-IC did not completely shut off following staging for four seconds, creating the possibility of the spent stage banging into the S-II engines, damaging them and forcing an abort (the S-II exhaust also struck a telemetry package on the S-IC and caused it to fail). Despite this, the third stage and spacecraft reached its planned Earth parking orbit. A couple of hours into the mission, the third stage reignited to propel the spacecraft out of Earth orbit and on to the Moon.

A few days after launching from Florida, the spacecraft passed behind the far side of the Moon, where the Service Propulsion System (SPS) engine on the CSM ignited for a six-minute burn, to slow the craft down into an initial lunar orbit. Once the lowest point of altitude in the orbit was reached, the SPS engine was fired again, to place the spacecraft into the proper descent orbit for the Lunar Module landing at Hadley.

The Apollo 15 command module is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

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