Apollo 9

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Apollo 9
Gumdrop Meets Spider - GPN-2000-001100.jpg
David Scott performs an EVA from Command Module Gumdrop, seen from docked Lunar Module Spider
Mission typeLunar Module test flight
OperatorNASA[1]
COSPAR IDCSM: 1969-018A
LM: 1969-018C
SATCAT №CSM: 3769
LM: 3771
Mission duration10 days, 1 hours, 54 seconds
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftApollo CSM-104
Apollo LM-3
ManufacturerCSM: North American Rockwell
LM: Grumman
Launch massCSM: 26,801 kilograms (59,090 lb)
LM: 14,575 kilograms (32,130 lb)
Crew
Crew size3
MembersJames A. McDivitt
David R. Scott
Russell L. Schweickart
CallsignCSM: Gumdrop
LM: Spider
EVAs1
EVA duration77 minutes
Start of mission
Launch dateMarch 3, 1969, 16:00:00 (1969-03-03UTC16Z) UTC
RocketSaturn V SA-504
Launch siteKennedy LC-39A
End of mission
Decay dateOctober 23, 1981 (LM)
Landing dateMarch 13, 1969, 17:00:54 (1969-03-13UTC17:00:55Z) UTC
Landing siteNorth Atlantic Ocean
23°15′N 67°56′W / 23.250°N 67.933°W / 23.250; -67.933 (Apollo 9 splashdown)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee189.5 kilometers (117.7 mi)
Apogee192.4 kilometers (119.6 mi)
Inclination32.57 degrees
Docking with LM
Docking dateMarch 3, 1969, 19:01:59 UTC
Undocking dateMarch 7, 1969, 12:39:06 UTC
Docking with LM Ascent Stage
Docking dateMarch 7, 1969, 19:02:26 UTC
Undocking dateMarch 7, 1969, 21:22:45 UTC

Apollo-9-patch.png Apollo9 Prime Crew.jpg
Left to right: McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart


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Apollo 9
Gumdrop Meets Spider - GPN-2000-001100.jpg
David Scott performs an EVA from Command Module Gumdrop, seen from docked Lunar Module Spider
Mission typeLunar Module test flight
OperatorNASA[1]
COSPAR IDCSM: 1969-018A
LM: 1969-018C
SATCAT №CSM: 3769
LM: 3771
Mission duration10 days, 1 hours, 54 seconds
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftApollo CSM-104
Apollo LM-3
ManufacturerCSM: North American Rockwell
LM: Grumman
Launch massCSM: 26,801 kilograms (59,090 lb)
LM: 14,575 kilograms (32,130 lb)
Crew
Crew size3
MembersJames A. McDivitt
David R. Scott
Russell L. Schweickart
CallsignCSM: Gumdrop
LM: Spider
EVAs1
EVA duration77 minutes
Start of mission
Launch dateMarch 3, 1969, 16:00:00 (1969-03-03UTC16Z) UTC
RocketSaturn V SA-504
Launch siteKennedy LC-39A
End of mission
Decay dateOctober 23, 1981 (LM)
Landing dateMarch 13, 1969, 17:00:54 (1969-03-13UTC17:00:55Z) UTC
Landing siteNorth Atlantic Ocean
23°15′N 67°56′W / 23.250°N 67.933°W / 23.250; -67.933 (Apollo 9 splashdown)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee189.5 kilometers (117.7 mi)
Apogee192.4 kilometers (119.6 mi)
Inclination32.57 degrees
Docking with LM
Docking dateMarch 3, 1969, 19:01:59 UTC
Undocking dateMarch 7, 1969, 12:39:06 UTC
Docking with LM Ascent Stage
Docking dateMarch 7, 1969, 19:02:26 UTC
Undocking dateMarch 7, 1969, 21:22:45 UTC

Apollo-9-patch.png Apollo9 Prime Crew.jpg
Left to right: McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart


Project Apollo
Manned missions
← Apollo 8Apollo 10

Apollo 9 was the third manned mission in the United States Apollo space program and the first flight of the Command/Service Module (CSM) with the Lunar Module (LM). Its three-person crew, consisting of Commander James McDivitt, Command Module Pilot David Scott, and Lunar Module Pilot Rusty Schweickart, tested several aspects critical to landing on the Moon, including the LM engines, backpack life support systems, navigation systems, and docking maneuvers. The mission was the second manned launch of a Saturn V rocket.

After launching on March 3, 1969, the crewmen spent ten days in low Earth orbit. They performed the first manned flight of a LM, the first docking and extraction of a LM, two spacewalks (EVA), and the second docking of two manned spacecraft—two months after the Soviets performed a spacewalk crew transfer between Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5. The mission proved the LM worthy of manned spaceflight. Further tests on the Apollo 10 mission would prepare the LM for its ultimate goal, landing on the Moon.

Crew[edit]

PositionAstronaut
CommanderJames A. McDivitt
Second and last spaceflight
Command Module PilotDavid R. Scott
Second spaceflight
Lunar Module PilotRussell L. Schweickart
Only spaceflight
Like Apollo 8, the crew of Apollo 9 consisted of two Gemini
veterans and one rookie.

Backup crew[edit]

PositionAstronaut
CommanderCharles Conrad, Jr,
Command Module PilotRichard F. Gordon, Jr.
Lunar Module PilotClifton C. Williams[a]
Alan L. Bean
The backup crew became the prime crew on Apollo 12.

Support crew[edit]

Flight directors[edit]

Mission parameters[edit]

LM - CSM docking[edit]

EVA[edit]

Original mission profile[edit]

In April 1966, McDivitt, Scott, and Schweickart were selected as the backup crew to Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee for the planned first manned Earth orbital test flight of the Command/Service Module, designated AS-204 expected to fly in late 1966. This was to be followed by a second similar flight, AS-205, to be crewed by Wally Schirra, Walter Cunningham, and Donn Eisele.

However, delays in the CSM development pushed AS-204 into 1967. By December 1966, the original AS-205 mission was cancelled, Schirra's crew was named as Grissom's backup, and McDivitt's crew was promoted to prime crew for a new second mission, to fly the complete Apollo spacecraft, launching the CSM and LM on two separate Saturn IB vehicles into a low Earth orbit. They immediately began training for this flight, designated AS-205/208, expected to occur in late 1967.[2]

On January 27, 1967, Grissom's crew were 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 and putting an 18-month hold on the manned program while the Command Module (CM) was redesigned for safety.

As it turned out, a 1967 launch of AS-205/208 would have been impossible even absent the Apollo 1 accident, as problems with the LM delayed its first unmanned test flight until January 1968. NASA was able to use the 18-month hiatus to catch up with development and unmanned testing of the LM and the Saturn V Moon launch vehicle.

By October 1967, planning for manned flights resumed, with Apollo 7 being the first Earth orbit CSM flight (now known as the C mission) in October 1968 given to Schirra's crew, and McDivitt's mission (now known as the D Mission) following as Apollo 8 in December 1968, using a single Saturn V instead of the two Saturn IBs. This would be followed by a higher Earth orbit flight (E Mission), to be crewed by Frank Borman, Michael Collins, and William Anders in early 1969.

However, continued LM production problems meant that the D Mission would not be able to fly until the spring of 1969, so NASA officials created another mission for Apollo 8 using the Saturn V to launch only the CSM on the first manned flight to orbit the Moon, and the E Mission was cancelled as unnecessary. Since McDivitt's crew had trained for the first LM mission, and he expressed the personal desire to fly it, the Borman and McDivitt crews were swapped, and the D mission became Apollo 9.

The crew swap also affected who would be the first crew to land on the Moon; when the crews for Apollo 8 and 9 were swapped, their backup crews were also swapped. 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 for the first landing mission Apollo 11 instead of Pete Conrad's crew, who made the second landing on Apollo 12.

Mission highlights[edit]

Apollo 9 launches from Kennedy Space Center, March 3, 1969

Apollo 9 was the first space test of the complete Apollo spacecraft, including the third critical piece of Apollo hardware besides the Command/Service Module and the Saturn V launch vehicle—the Lunar Module. It was also the first space docking of two vehicles with an internal crew transfer between them. For ten days, the astronauts put both Apollo spacecraft through their paces in Earth orbit, including an undocking and redocking of the lunar lander with the command vehicle, just as the landing mission crew would perform in lunar orbit. Apollo 9 gave proof that the Apollo spacecraft were up to this critical task, on which the lives of lunar landing crews would depend.

For this and all subsequent Apollo flights, the crews were allowed to name their own spacecraft (the last spacecraft to have been named was Gemini 3). The gangly LM was named Spider, and the CSM was labeled Gumdrop because of the Command Module's shape, and also the blue wrapping in which the craft arrived at Kennedy Space Center. These names were required as radio call signs when the vehicles flew independently.

Schweickart and Scott performed an EVA—Schweickart checked out the new Apollo spacesuit, the first to have its own life support system rather than being dependent on an umbilical connection to the spacecraft, while Scott filmed him from the Command Module hatch. Schweickart was due to carry out a more extensive set of activities to test the suit, and demonstrate that it was possible for astronauts to perform an EVA from the Lunar Module to the Command Module in an emergency, but as he had been suffering from space sickness the extra tests were scratched.

Apollo 9 approaches splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, March 13, 1969

McDivitt and Schweickart later test-flew the LM, and practiced separation and docking maneuvers in Earth orbit. They flew the LM up to 111 miles (179 km) from Gumdrop, using the engine on the descent stage to propel them originally, before jettisoning it and using the ascent stage to return. This test flight represented the first flight of a manned spacecraft that was not equipped to reenter the Earth's atmosphere.

The splashdown point was 23 deg 15 min N, 67 deg 56 min W, 180 miles (290 km) east of The Bahamas and within sight of the recovery ship USS Guadalcanal. Apollo 9 was the last spacecraft to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Command Module was displayed at the Michigan Space and Science Center, Jackson, Michigan, until April 2004 when the center closed.[citation needed] In May 2004, it was moved to the San Diego Aerospace Museum (now named the San Diego Air & Space Museum). The LM ascent stage orbit decayed on October 23, 1981, the LM descent stage (1969-018D) orbit decayed March 22, 1969. The S-IVB stage J-2 engine was restarted after Lunar Module extraction and propelled the stage into solar orbit by burning to depletion.

The crew sang the song "Happy Birthday to You" on March 8, 1969.

The Saturn IVB third stage became a derelict object where it would continue to orbit the Sun for many years. As of September 2013, it remains in orbit.[3]

Mission insignia and spacecraft names[edit]

The circular patch shows a drawing of a Saturn V rocket with the letters USA on it. To its right, an Apollo CSM is shown next to an LM, with the CSM's nose pointed at the "front door" of the LM rather than at its top docking port. The CSM is trailing rocket fire in a circle. The crew's names are along the top edge of the circle, with APOLLO IX at the bottom. The "D" in McDivitt's name is filled with red to mark that this was the "D mission" in the alphabetic sequence of Apollo missions. The patch was designed by Allen Stevens of Rockwell International.[4]

For the first time since the first manned Gemini mission, the astronauts were allowed to name their spacecraft. This came about to avoid confusion when dealing with two separate craft flying at the same time. The crew dubbed the Lunar Module Spider for its buglike appearance, and the Command Module Gumdrop because of its shape.

Summary of maneuvers[edit]

T + TimeEventBurn TimeDelta-VelocityOrbit
T + 00:00:00Lift-off
T + 00:02:14.34S-IC center engine cut-off141 s
T + 00:02:42.76S-IC engine cut-off169 s
T + 00:02:45.16S-II ignition
T + 00:03:13.5S-II skirt separation
T + 00:03:18.3LES jettison
T + 00:08:56.22S-II cut-off
T + 00:08:57S-II cutoff + separation, S-IVB ignition
T + 00:11:04.66S-IVB cutoff + orbital insertion127.4 s191.3 × 189.5 km
T + 02:41:16CSM/S-IVB separation
T + 03:01:59.3CSM/LM docking
T + 04:08:09Spacecraft/S-IVB separation
T + 05:59:01.07First Service Propulsion System (SPS) test5.1 s+10.4 m/s234.1 × 200.7 km
T + 22:13:04.07Second SPS test110 s+259.2 m/s351.5 × 199.5 km
T + 25:17:39.27Third SPS test281.6 s+782.6 m/s503.4 × 202.6 km
T + 28:24:41.37Fourth SPS test28.2 s-91.45 m/s502.8 × 202.4 km
T + 49:41:34.46Docked DPS test369.7 s-530.1 m/s499.3 × 202.2 km
T + 54:26:12.27Fifth SPS test43.3 s-175.6 m/s239.3 × 229.3 km
T + 92:39:36CSM/LM undocking
T + 93:02:54CSM separation maneuver10.9 s-1.5 m/s
T + 93:47:35.4LM Descent Propulsion System (DPS) phasing maneuver18.6 s+27.6 m/s253.5 × 207 km
T + 95:39:08.6LM DPS insertion maneuver22.2 s+13.1 m/s257.2 × 248.2 km
T + 96:16:06.54LM concentric sequence initiation maneuver/Descent stage jettison30.3 s-12.2 m/s255.2 × 208.9 km
T + 96:58:15LM Ascent Propulsion System (APS) constant delta height maneuver2.9 s-12.6 m/s215.6 × 207.2 km
T + 97:57:59LM terminal phase finalization maneuver34.7 s+6.8 m/s232.8 × 208.5 km
T + 99:02:26CSM/LM docking
T + 101:22:45LM ascent stage jettison
T + 101:32:44Post-jettison CSM separation maneuver7.2 s+0.9 m/s235.7 × 224.6 km
T + 101:53:15.4LM APS burn to depletion350 s+1,643.2 m/s6,934.4 × 230.6 km
T + 123:25:06.97Sixth SPS test1.29 s-11.5 m/s222.6 × 195.2 km
T + 169:39:00.36Seventh SPS test25 s+199.6 m/s463.4 × 181.1 km
T + 240:31:14.84Deorbit burn (SPS)11.6 s-99.1 m/s442.2 × -7.8 km
T + 240:36:03.8SM jettison
T + 241:00:54Splashdown


Pictures[edit]

Spacecraft location[edit]

The Apollo 9 Command Module Gumdrop (1969-018A) is on display at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego, California. Its Service Module (SM) was jettisoned shortly after the deorbit burn and decayed during reentry of the Command Module.

The ascent stage of LM-3 Spider (1969-018C) decayed on October 23, 1981.[citation needed]

The descent stage of LM-3 Spider (1969-018D) decayed March 22, 1969.[citation needed]

The upper stage of the Apollo 9 Saturn V, S-IVB-504N, (1969-018B) remains in heliocentric (solar) orbit As of 2013.[3]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Originally, Clifton C. Williams was the Lunar Module pilot for the backup crew. He died on October 5, 1967, in a T-38 crash. His spot was given to Alan L. Bean. Later, when the backup crew flew Apollo 12, a fourth star was added to their mission patch in remembrance of him.

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ Orloff, Richard W. (September 2004) [First published 2000]. Table of Contents. "Apollo by the Numbers: A Statistical Reference". NASA History Division, Office of Policy and Plans. NASA History Series (Washington, D.C.: NASA). ISBN 0-16-050631-X. LCCN 00-061677. NASA SP-2000-4029. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Apollo Image Gallery: Early Apollo". Project Apollo Archive. Kipp Teague. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Saturn S-IVB-504N - Satellite Information". Satellite database. Heavens-Above. Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  4. ^ Hengeveld, Ed (May 20, 2008). "The man behind the Moon mission patches". collectSPACE. Retrieved July 18, 2009.  "A version of this article was published concurrently in the British Interplanetary Society's Spaceflight magazine."

Bibliography[edit]

  • Baker, David (1982). The History of Manned Space Flight (1st ed.). New York: Crown Publishers. ISBN 0-517-54377-X. 

External links[edit]

NASA reports

Multimedia