Nov 02

Space Rocket History #183 – Apollo 9 – Lunar Module Maneuvers Part 4

When Scott tried to release the lunar module, he did not hold the button long enough so the lander got hung on the capture latches.

LM in lunar landing configuration. Photographed from CM

LM in lunar landing configuration. Photographed from CM

McDivitt & Schweickart show Spider's landing gear to Scott before they pull away

McDivitt & Schweickart show Spider’s landing gear to Scott before they pull away

LM ascent stage photographed from the CM

LM ascent stage photographed from the CM

Oct 26

Space Rocket History #182 – Apollo 9 – Lunar Module Maneuvers Part 3

On the fourth day of the flight of Apollo 9, Schweickart felt better than expected as he worked his way into the lander to get it ready for the EVA. By the time he had put on the backpack, McDivitt was ready to let him do more – to stand on the lunar lander porch at least.

Lunar Module to Command Module transfer procedure

Lunar Module to Command Module transfer procedure

Schweickart on the porch of the Lunar Module

Schweickart on the porch of the Lunar Module

Scott standing in the open hatch of the Command Module

Scott standing in the open hatch of the Command Module

Oct 19

Space Rocket History #181 – Apollo 9 – Lunar Module Maneuvers Part 2

McDivitt later said that the engine had come on abruptly, but with the tremendous mass, acceleration was very slow – it took the whole 5 seconds to add 11 meters per second to the speed.

Example of the CM's docking probe being removed from the inside to allow access to the LM through the tunnel

Example of the CM’s docking probe being removed from the inside to allow access to the LM through the tunnel

Probe and drogue operations

Probe and drogue operations

Schweickart and McDivitt inside the LM

Schweickart and McDivitt inside the LM

Oct 12

Space Rocket History #180 – Apollo 9 – Lunar Module Maneuvers

As Dave Scott pulled in closer to the Lunar Module he noticed that the command module’s nose was out of line with the lander’s nose. Scott tried to use a service module thruster to turn left, but that jet was not operating. It turns out that someone had accidentally bumped a switch that turned off one set of Thrusters. The crew then flipped the correct switches, and the thruster started working, and at T+3 hours 2 minutes the command module probe nestled into the lunar Module drogue, where it was captured and held by the 12 latches. The first docking of the Lunar Module in space was achieved. As a side note, switch guards were installed on all future Apollo missions to prevent accidentally flipping a switch.

LM on S-VIB stage preparing to dock with the Command Module

LM on S-VIB stage preparing to dock with the Command Module

Command Module docked with Lunar Module

Command Module docked with Lunar Module

S-IVB stage after the Lunar Module was removed

S-IVB stage after the Lunar Module was removed

Oct 05

Space Rocket History #179 – Apollo 9 – The Launch

For the 19th flight of American astronauts into space, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, representing the new administration of Richard Nixon, sat in the firing control room viewing area on March 3rd, 1969. He and other guests listened to the countdown of the Saturn-Apollo structure several kilometers away at the edge of the Florida beach.

Apollo 9 crew: McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart

Apollo 9 crew: McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart

Wernher von Braun waiting for launch with Vice President Spiro Agnew

Wernher von Braun waiting for launch with Vice President Spiro Agnew

Lift off of Apollo 9

Lift off of Apollo 9

Sep 28

Space Rocket History #178 – Apollo 9 – The Crew – McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart

James Alton “Jim” McDivitt was born on June 10, 1929, in  Chicago, Illinois. He is of  Irish descent. Like many other astronauts, he was a  Boy Scout and earned the rank of Tenderfoot Scout. He graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School, Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1947.

James McDivitt

James McDivitt

David Scott

David Scott

Russell Schweickart

Russell Schweickart

Sep 14

Space Rocket History #177 – Apollo 9 – Preparations

The biggest concern before Apollo 9 was the docking maneuver.  In early 1969, at NASA there was little confidence in the docking system. At a January program review, Phillips said that problems encountered during probe and drogue testing worried him…

The Command Module probe and the Lunar Module Drogue

The Command Module probe and the Lunar Module Drogue

McDivitt & Schweickart practice in the LM simulator

McDivitt & Schweickart practice in the LM simulator

Schweickart in the spacesuit with the backpack

Schweickart in the spacesuit with the backpack

Lithograph print of the negative that flew on Apollo 9, with signatures of Grumman engineers and mechanics

Lithograph print of the negative that flew on Apollo 9, with signatures of Grumman engineers and mechanics

Aug 03

Space Rocket History #171 – Apollo 8 – The Reaction

New York City welcomed the Apollo 8 crew with a ticker-tape parade on the 10th of January, Newark hailed them on the 11th, and Miami greeted them on the 12th during the Super Bowl game. The Astronauts returned to Houston on the 13th for a hometown parade. Incoming President Richard M. Nixon sent Borman and his family on an eight-nation goodwill tour of western Europe. Everywhere they went, the astronauts depicted the earth as a spaceship and stressed international cooperation in space.

Borman, Anders, Lovell, on the flight deck of the carrier U.S.S. Yorktown, recovery ship Dec. 27, 1968.

Borman, Anders, Lovell, on the flight deck of the carrier U.S.S. Yorktown, recovery ship Dec. 27, 1968.

Lovell, Borman, and Anders (left to right) - back on the earth after their Apollo 8 mission, tell what they saw

Lovell, Borman, and Anders (left to right) – back on the earth after their Apollo 8 mission, tell what they saw

The Crew of Apollo 8 on the cover of Time Magazine

The Crew of Apollo 8 on the cover of Time Magazine