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