The Cost

To some individuals, the Apollo moon landings are considered the greatest achievement in human history and the beginning of humanity’s expansion into the universe. At its height over 400,000 people were directly or indirectly involved in the project. But what was the cost?

  • Apollo Spacecraft - $5.3 Billion
  • Saturn Rockets - $8.7 Billion
  • Other Costs - $11.4 Billion

The Total Estimated Cost in 1969 Dollars is $25.4 Billion and $145 Billion in 2007 Dollars.

Human costs: The lives of 3 astronauts: Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee.

Cost Of The Apollo Space Program

On January 27, 1967, while strapped in their seats inside the Apollo 1 Command Module to conduct tests, a sudden fire erupted within the cockpit and engulfed the three men. Within a minute all three were killed. During the intensive investigation an abraded silver-plated wire, stripped of its Teflon insulation, was found in close proximity to an ethylene glycol/water cooling line prone to leaks. This was determined to be an extremely hazardous scenario since the contact of the chemical solution with the silver could cause a reaction severe enough to ignite the pure oxygen environment within the cockpit.

Also, the 34 feet of Velcro within the module was found to be highly explosive in a high-pressure 100% oxygen atmosphere. Static discharge from the nylon suits of the crew shifting in their seats could also have been sufficient for an ignition of the highly oxygenated cockpit.

Although the ignition source of the fire was never fully determined, numerous design modifications were made to the Command Module to prevent this kind of accident from ever happening again.

(All photos courtesy of NASA)

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