Coasting to the Moon
A large part of the Apollo journey was spent in coasting flight; a period of time, usually somewhere between the Moon and Earth or in orbit around the Moon, when the three crewmen waited to reach a destination or when the command module pilot was waiting for his two crewmates to return from their exploration of the lunar surface. Although this part of the flight held little interest for the news media, NASA made sure there was plenty to keep its crews occupied. Exotic conditions like the command module in deep space had cost the taxpayer dearly and did not occur often, unlike the continuous time in weightlessness offered by later space stations which stayed in low Earth orbit. Being in deep space exposed crews to an environment beyond the shielding effects of Earth’s magnetic field. As a result, mission planners, managers and controllers very rarely allowed them to relax during a flight. This was particularly true of later flights, when the business of just keeping the spacecraft running had become somewhat routine.