Amazing view of Earth from Apollo 9

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.

Astronaut Dave Scott emerges from the Apollo 9 Command Module "Gumdrop"
March 6, 1969 – With the Apollo 9 Command/Service Modules docked with the Lunar Module and Earth in the background, astronaut Dave Scott opens the hatch of Gumdrop for his extravehicular activity. Astronaut Rusty Schweickart took the picture from outside the Lunar Module, Spider at approximately 249.5 kilometers (155 miles) above the Earth. The entire EVA lasted 37 minutes. (Apollo 9, AS09-20-3064) In simulations, Apollo 9 astronauts began to refer to the CSM as “Gumdrop”, a name inspired by the CM’s appearance while in the blue protective wrapping in which it was transported from the manufacturer, and the LM as “Spider”, inspired by the LM’s appearance with landing legs deployed. Image source: Apollo Image Gallery
Astronaut Dave Scott emerges from the Apollo 9 Command Module "Gumdrop"
A slightly different photo, this time Scott turns his left and looks at our beautiful blue planet.

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

Apollo 9: ‘A Hell of a Ride’
50 years ago, NASA tested the capabilities of our Moon landing spacecraft in Earth’s orbit. Commander James McDivitt, Command Module Pilot David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot Rusty Schweickart performed systems checks and gathered data. The Lunar Module and the Command Module separated by nearly 100 miles (160 km) and an engine burn check brought them back together. A challenging rendezvous and docking proved the abilities of the hardware. This historic mission launched on March 3, 1969, and concluded on March 13, 1969, as an engineering mission and paved the way for future Apollo missions and moon landings.

Sources

Apollo 9 on Wikipedia
Apollo 9 mission page on the NASA website

M. Özgür Nevres

I am a software developer, an ex-road racing cyclist, and a science enthusiast. Also an animal lover! I write about the planet Earth and science on this website, ourplnt.com. You can check out my social media profiles by clicking on their icons.

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