Mar 15

Space Rocket History #201 – Apollo 11 – Mission Planning

NASA officials used only 12 words to list the primary objectives of Apollo 11:
1-Perform a manned lunar landing and return.
2-Perform selenological inspection and sampling.

Nasa Admin during Apollo 11 – Thomas O. Paine

Flight Directors John Hodge and Gene Kranz

Plaque on the Lunar Module descent stage of Apollo 11

Antipode illustration

Feb 22

Space Rocket History #198 – Apollo 10 – Snoopy Returns and a Successful Dress Rehearsal

“Hey, Apollo – Houston, this is Apollo 10. Look, I know you ran some studies, but by golly, we can see Snoopy, and he isn’t too far away! He’s catching up with us. Can you talk to the FIDOS? He’s right down below us. We can occasionally see him tumbling end-over-end down below there, and he’s coming in closer each pass. That’s Snoopy’s descent stage. We can see him right down below us now, and he’s right – I thought he was a little out-of-plane, but now he’s looking more in-plane with us.” Tom Stafford Apollo 10

Relative Orbits of the Command Module and the Descent Stage

Cernan, Stafford & Young arrive on the Carrier USS Princeton

Apollo 10 Command Module at the Science Museum in London

Feb 01

Space Rocket History #195 – Apollo 10 – Lunar Module Testing

When Stafford and Cernan were ready for undocking they discovered the Lunar Module had slipped three and a half degrees out of line with the command module at the latching point, possibly due to loose mylar collecting on the docking ring…

Events planned for revolution 12

LM upper hatch locking handle and overhead cabin relief dump valve handle

View of Apollo 10 LM from the CM

Jan 25

Space Rocket History #194 – Apollo 10 – Acquisition of Signal & Lunar Orbit

The six-minute retrograde maneuver seemed interminable, just as it had to Borman’s crew on Apollo 8, but the engine kept firing and the Apollo 10 crew’s confidence in it kept growing. When the engine finally shut down and they were sure that it had done its job, Stafford and Cernan had time to look at the lunar surface. They likened one area to a volcanic site in Arizona. Shortly, Stafford forced his attention back inside the cabin and told his crew-mates that he thought the best thing to say when they got back in radio contact with mission control was, “Houston, tell the earth we have arrived.”

Apollo 10 photographed Sistes 1, 2, & 3

Site 1 was on the eastern side of the Sea of Tranquility

Site 2 was on the southwestern part of the sea

Jan 11

Space Rocket History #192 – Apollo 10 – Translunar Injection & First Docking

After a shaky but successful S-IVB burn Apollo 10 was on the way to the Moon. Now the first order of business was for John Young to move to the command module pilot seat.

Snoopy & Charlie Brown taped to the console

View of Earth from Apollo 10

Preparing for first docking

Jan 04

Space Rocket History #191 – Apollo 10 – The Climb to Orbit

At first stage cutoff the astronauts expected to encounter a single pulse of negative G and the crew would be thrown forward in their straps before the Second stage ignited and recommenced the acceleration. However, they actually encountered a form of pogo which continued for 4 cycles, during which they were “slammed forward, back, forward, back, forward, back, and forward, back. At this point the instrument panel was so blurred the astronauts could not read it.

Apollo 10 clears the tower

Houston on launch day

Apollo 10 ground track

Dec 21

Space Rocket History #190 – Apollo 10 – The Launch

On May 18th 1969, a king, some congressmen, other distinguished guests, and a hundred thousand other watchers waited at scattered vantage points around the Cape area. At 49 minutes past noon, Rocco Petrone’s launch team sent Apollo 10 on its way to the United States’s second manned rendezvous with the moon.

Apollo 10 crew on the way to Pad 39B

Apollo 10 crew on the way to Pad 39B

Launch of Apollo 10

Launch of Apollo 10

Apollo 10

Apollo 10

Dec 07

Space Rocket History #188 – Apollo 10 – Command Module Pilot John Young

John Young enjoyed the longest career of any astronaut thus far. Over the course of 42 years of active NASA service he made six space flights and is the only person to have piloted, and been commander of, four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini, the Apollo Command/Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle.

John Young training in the CM simulator

John Young training in the CM simulator

John Young looking at the flight plan

John Young looking at the flight plan

John Young suiting up

John Young suiting up