Aug 02

Space Rocket History #218 – Apollo 11 – Lunar Orbit

As they passed behind the moon, they had just over 8 minutes to go before the burn. They were super-careful now, they checked and rechecked each step several times. It had to be perfect. Just one digit in the computer out of place could send them into a lunar mountain or turn them and send them into orbit around the sun.

Solar corona of the Moon as first seen by Apollo 11 crew

Lunar orbit insertion

Tucson Daily Citizen newspaper July 19, 1969

Jul 26

Space Rocket History #217 – Apollo 11 – Cislunar

What do we call this strange region between earth and moon? Cislunar space is the most common term, Is it day or night?  Humans generally define night as that time when our planet is between our eyes and the sun, so this must be considered constant daytime, But it looks like night out of Command Module’s windows.

The Earth viewed form Apollo 11 during cislunar coast

Entering the Lunar Module for checkout

Buzz Aldrin in the Lunar Module

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 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

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