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

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 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

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

Nov 23

Space Rocket History #186 – Apollo 10 – Commander Thomas P. Stafford

Thomas P. Stafford was the first member of his Naval Academy Class of 1952 to pin on the first, second, and third stars of a General Officer. He flew six rendezvous in space; logged 507 hours and 43 minutes in space flight and wore the Air Force command Pilot Astronaut Wings. He has flown over 127 different types of aircraft and helicopters and four different types of spacecraft.

Stafford & Cernan training in the LM

Stafford & Cernan training in the LM

Apollo 10 crew inspect the emergency slide

Apollo 10 crew inspect the emergency slide

Apollo 10 crew in front of the launch pad

Apollo 10 crew in front of the launch pad