The Command/Service Module (CSM) was one of two spacecraft, along with the Lunar Module, used for the United States Apollo program which landed astronauts on the Moon. It was built for NASA by North American Aviation. It was launched by itself into suborbital and low Earth orbit test missions with the Saturn IB launch vehicle, and three times by itself and nine times with the Lunar Module as part of the Apollo spacecraft assembly on the larger Saturn V launch vehicle, which was capable of sending it to the Moon.
After the Apollo lunar program, the CSM saw manned service as a crew shuttle for the Skylab program, and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in which an American crew rendezvoused and docked with a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft in Earth orbit.
The CSM consisted of two segments: the Command Module, a cabin which housed a crew of three and equipment needed for re-entry and splashdown; and a Service Module
that provided propulsion, electrical power and storage for various
consumables required during a mission. The Service Module was cast off
and allowed to burn up in the atmosphere before the Command Module
re-entered and brought the crew home.
The CSM was initially designed to return all three astronauts from
the lunar surface on a direct-descent mission which would not use a
separate Lunar Module, and thus had no provisions for docking with
another spacecraft. This, plus other required design changes led to the
decision to design two versions of the CSM: Block I was to be used for unmanned missions and a single manned Earth orbit flight (Apollo 1), while the more advanced Block II
was designed for use with the Lunar Module. But the Apollo 1 flight was
cancelled by a cabin fire which killed the crew and destroyed the
Command Module during a launch rehearsal test. Corrections of the
problems which caused the fire were applied to the Block II spacecraft,
which was used for all manned missions.
From : wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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