May 20

Space Rocket History #339 – Apollo 15 – The Launch

The last face they saw was Guenter’s, smiling and waving an enormous crescent wrench. Then the heavy hatch closed with a deep thunk.

May 06

Space Rocket History #338 – Apollo 15 – CDR Dave Scott Part 2 & The Postal Covers Incident

As Command Module Pilot for Apollo 9, Scott’s responsibilities were heavy. The Lunar Module was to separate from the Command and Service Module during the mission; if it failed to return, Scott would have to run the entire spacecraft for reentry, normally a three-man job.

Apr 22

Space Rocket History #337 – Apollo 15 – LMP Jim Irwin & CDR Dave Scott

Dave Scott showed incredible presence of mind during the unexpected events of the Gemini 8 mission. Even in the middle of an emergency, out of contact with Mission Control, he had thought to reenable ground control of the Agena before the two vehicles separated. This allowed NASA to check the Agena from the ground and use it for a subsequent Gemini mission. Scott’s competence was recognized by NASA when, five days after the brief flight, he was assigned to an Apollo crew and was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

Nov 09

Space Rocket History #184 – Apollo 9 – The Return

Even before crawling back into the command module, McDivitt said he was tired and ready for a three-day holiday.  Another 140 hours would pass before touchdown in the Atlantic, but the crew had achieved more than 90 percent of the mission objectives.

Rusty Schweickart's Practice Suit for Apollo 9. Pic taken at Wallops

Rusty Schweickart’s Practice Suit for Apollo 9. Pic taken at Wallops

Apollo 9 approaches splashdown

Apollo 9 approaches splashdown

Apollo 9 crew onboard USS Guadalcanal

Apollo 9 crew onboard USS Guadalcanal

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