Apollo 9


Kennedy's goal of Americans walking on the Moon and returning safely to Earth by the end of the 1960s.


Since the rule of thumb was for backup crews to fly as prime crew three missions later, this put Neil Armstrong's crew (Borman's backup) in position to make the first landing attempt on Apollo 11 instead of Pete Conrad's crew, who made the second landing on Apollo 12. == Framework == === Crew and key Mission Control personnel === McDivitt was in the Air Force; selected as a member of the second group of astronauts in 1962, he was command pilot of Gemini 4 (1965).


Scott, also Air Force, was selected in the third astronaut group in 1963 and flew alongside Neil Armstrong in Gemini 8, on which the first spacecraft docking was performed.


The crew was able to track the Pegasus 3 satellite (launched in 1965) as well as the ascent stage of Spider.

Apollo9's success had ensured that the next Apollo mission would go back to the moon." == See also == List of spacewalks and moonwalks 1965–1999 == Notes == == References == === Bibliography === == External links == NASA reports "Apollo 9 flight plan AS-504/CSM-104/LM-3 Final Report" (PDF) by J.


It proved the LM worthy of crewed spaceflight, setting the stage for the dress rehearsal for the lunar landing, Apollo 10, before the ultimate goal, landing on the Moon. == Mission background == In April 1966, McDivitt, Scott, and Schweickart were selected by Director of Flight Crew Operations Deke Slayton as the second Apollo crew.

Colin Burgess and Francis French, in their book about the Apollo Program, deemed McDivitt's crew among the best trained ever—they had worked together since January 1966, at first as backups for Apollo 1, and they always had the assignment of being the first to fly the LM.


Delays in the block I CSM development pushed AS-204 into 1967.

The third crewed mission, to be commanded by Frank Borman, was to be the first launch of a SaturnV with a crew. On January 27, 1967, Grissom's crew was conducting a launch-pad test for their planned February 21 mission, which they named Apollo 1, when a fire broke out in the cabin, killing all three men.

In 1967, NASA had adopted a series of lettered missions leading up to the crewed lunar landing, the "G mission", completion of one being a prerequisite to the next.

McDivitt's crew had been announced by NASA in November 1967 as prime crew for the Dmission, lengthy testing of the command and lunar modules in Earth orbit. Seeking to keep Kennedy's goal on schedule, in August 1968, Apollo Program Manager George M.

This device had been created in 1967 to allow for stand-up EVAs from the hatches of the LM or CM, or for brief ventures outside.


During this time Apollo 5 took place, an uncrewed launch to test the first lunar module (LM-1). Under the new schedule, the first Apollo crewed mission to go into space would be Apollo 7, planned for October 1968.

McDivitt's crew had been announced by NASA in November 1967 as prime crew for the Dmission, lengthy testing of the command and lunar modules in Earth orbit. Seeking to keep Kennedy's goal on schedule, in August 1968, Apollo Program Manager George M.

The LM arrived from Grumman in June 1968 and was subjected to extensive testing including in the altitude chamber, simulating space conditions.

Small cracks in LM-3's aluminum alloy structure due to stresses such as the insertion of a rivet proved an ongoing issue; Grumman's engineers continued working to fix them until the LM had to be mounted on the SaturnV in December 1968.


Apollo 9 (March 3–13, 1969) was the third [spaceflight] in NASA's Apollo program.

During the ten-day mission, they tested systems and procedures critical to landing on the Moon, including the LM engines, backpack life support systems, navigation systems and docking maneuvers. After launching on March 3, 1969, the crew performed the first crewed flight of a lunar module, the first docking and extraction of the same, one two-person spacewalk (EVA), and the second docking of two crewed spacecraft—two months after the Soviets performed a spacewalk crew transfer between and .

This crew flew as prime on Apollo 12 in November 1969.

There were no lengthy delays, and on January 3, 1969, the launch vehicle was taken out of the VAB and moved to Launch Complex 39A by crawler.

It was later used by Scott for his lunar surface stand-up EVA on Apollo 15, and for the deep-space EVAs by the command module pilots of the final three Apollo flights. == Mission highlights == === First through fifth days (March 3–7) === Originally scheduled to launch on February 28, 1969, the liftoff of Apollo9 was postponed because all three astronauts had colds, and NASA did not want to risk that the mission might be affected.

The descent stage of LM-3 Spider (1969-018D) reentered on March 22, 1969, landing in the Indian Ocean near North Africa. The S-IVB (1969-018B) was sent into solar orbit, with initial aphelion of , perihelion of and orbital period of 245 days.

On March 24, NASA made it official." Although he might have been offered command of an Apollo lunar landing mission, McDivitt chose to leave the Astronaut Corps after Apollo9, becoming manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program later in 1969.


Scott was soon given another spaceflight assignment as backup commander of Apollo 12, and then was made mission commander of Apollo 15, landing on the Moon in 1971.


The performance of the CSM in remaining stable while the engine was being gimbaled would in 1972 help cause McDivitt, by then manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program, to approve the continuation of Apollo 16 when its CSM was experiencing an unstable gimbal after separation from its LM in lunar orbit. The flight plan for the third day in space was to have the commander and lunar module pilot enter the LM to check out its systems and use its descent engine to move the entire spacecraft.


He took a leave of absence from NASA in 1977 that eventually became permanent.


The service module, jettisoned shortly after the deorbit burn, reentered the atmosphere and disintegrated. The ascent stage of LM-3 Spider (1969-018C) reentered on October 23, 1981.


Gumdrop was formerly displayed at the Michigan Space and Science Center, Jackson, Michigan, until April 2004 when the center closed.


Apollo9 was the last spacecraft to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean for a half century, until the Crew Dragon Demo-1 mission in 2019. == Hardware disposition == The Apollo9 Command Module Gumdrop (1969-018A) is on display at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

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