An amazing view of Earth from Apollo 9: on March 6, 1969, with the Command/Service Modules docked with the Lunar Module and Earth in the background, astronaut Dave Scott opens the hatch of CSM (“Gumdrop”) for his extravehicular activity (EVA) to test some of the spacesuit systems that will be used for lunar operations. Astronaut Rusty Schweickart took the picture from outside the Lunar Module, “Spider” at approximately 249.5 kilometers above the Earth. The entire EVA lasted 37 minutes.
Apollo 9 mission
Launched on March 3, 1969, from Kennedy Space Center, Apollo 9 was the third crewed mission in the United States Apollo space program (the first two were Apollo 7 and 8), the second to be sent into orbit by a Saturn V rocket (after Apollo 8), and the first flight of the full Apollo spacecraft: the command and service module (CSM) with the Lunar Module (LM).
The primary objective of the mission was an Earth-orbital engineering test of the first crewed lunar module or LM. Other prime objectives included an overall checkout of the launch vehicle and spacecraft systems, the crew, and procedures. This was done by performing an integrated series of flight tasks with the command module, or CM, the service module, or SM, the joined command and service module, or CSM, the LM and S-IVB stage while they were linked in a launch or various docked configurations, and while they were flying independently.
The LM was to be tested as a self-sufficient spacecraft and was also to perform active rendezvous and docking maneuvers paralleling those scheduled for the following Apollo 10 lunar orbit mission.
Apollo 9 crew performed the first crewed flight of a lunar module, the first docking, and extraction of one, one two-person spacewalk (EVA), and the second docking of two crewed spacecraft (two months after the Soviets performed a spacewalk crew transfer between Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5).
The mission concluded on March 13 and was a full success. It proved the Lunar Module (LM) worthy of crewed spaceflight.
Apollo 9 Crew:
- James A. McDivitt, Commander
- Russell L. Schweickart, Lunar Module Pilot
- David R. Scott, Command Module Pilot
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