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 15

Space Rocket History #197 – Apollo 10 – Ascent Stage Rendezvous, Docking & Jettisoning

As the lunar module approached, Young saw it through his sextant at a distance of 259 kilometers. Stafford and Cernan got a radar lock on the command module shortly after the insertion burn and watched with interest as the instrument measured the dwindling gap between the vehicles and demonstrated the theories of orbital mechanics in actual practice. Cernan especially liked the steady communications that kept both crews aware of what was happening.

Ascent stage of Apollo 10 LM viewed from CM.

Apollo 10 re-docking plan

CM and LM pre-jettison attitude

Feb 08

Space Rocket History #196 – Apollo 10 – Lunar Module Out of Control

The abort system had two basic control modes, “attitude hold” and “automatic.” In automatic, the computer would take over the guidance and start looking for the command module, which was certainly not what the crew intended to do at that moment. While correcting for a minor yaw-rate-gyro disturbance, the astronauts  accidentally switched the spacecraft to the automatic mode, resulting in frantic gyrations.

Apollo Lunar Module

CM viewed from LM after separation

LM Topsy-turvy during staging

Lunar Module Staging Video

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 18

Space Rocket History #193 – Apollo 10 – Coasting to the Moon & Loss of Signal

Stafford, Cernan, and Young were the first Apollo astronauts to be free from illness during the mission, although Cernan experienced a slight vestibular disturbance. Like all their colleagues who had flown before, once they unbuckled from the couches they had a stuffy feeling in their heads. This lasted for 8 to 10 hours for Stafford and Young; Cernan gradually lost the sensation over the next two days.

Apollo 10’s View of Earth seen in MCC

Color TV from Apollo 10

The Patch for Apollo 10

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

Nov 30

Space Rocket History #187 – Apollo 10 – Lunar Module Pilot Eugene Cernan

On Cernan’s second space flight, he was lunar module pilot of Apollo 10, May 18-26, 1969.  Apollo 10 was the first comprehensive lunar-orbital qualification and verification flight test of an Apollo lunar module. Cernan was accompanied on the 248,000 nautical sojourn to the moon by Thomas P. Stafford (spacecraft commander) and John W. Young (command module pilot).

Apollo 10 crew briefed on emergency egress slide at pad 39-B

Apollo 10 crew briefed on emergency egress slide at pad 39-B

Gene Cernan outside LM simulator

Gene Cernan outside LM simulator

Apollo 10 un-official crew portrait

Apollo 10 un-official crew portrait