Apollo 9

Apollo project
mission emblem
Emblem von Apollo 9
mission data
mission: Apollo 9
Pilot of the command cap:
Pilot of the moon ferry:
James McDivitt
David R. Scott
Russell L. Schweickart
start to: 3. March 1969
landing to: 13. March 1969
duration: 10 days, 1 hour
landing strip: Atlantic
23,22°N 67,98°W
orbits around the earth: 151
salvage vessel: USS Guadalcanal
crew photo

Apollo 9 - v.l.n.r. James McDivitt, David R. Scott, Russell L. Schweickart

previous mission:

Apollo 8

the following mission:

Apollo 10

Apollo 9 was a space mission in the context of the Apollo project. Their goal was a test flight of the lunar excursion module under material conditions in the earth orbit, in which the rendezvous was rehearsed - and Andockmanöver.

Table of contents

mission planning and crew

in the early planning of the Apollo project was intended it that second manned flight (called mission D) a test of the lunar excursion module in the earth orbit accomplish should, whereby two rockets of the type Saturn-1B should be used. To 22. December 1966 communicated NASA for it the crew. As a commander James McDivitt was selected, which had already taken over the command with the second Gemini flight , Gemini 4. Pilot of the command cap should become David Scott, which had completed a space flight with Gemini 8. When pilot of the lunar excursion module became the space beginner Russell Schweickart nominated, one of the few civilians among the Apollo astronauts.

The reinforcement consisted of Thomas Stafford as a commander, John Young as a pilot of the Apollokapsel and Eugene Cernan as a pilot of the moon ferry. All three had already or two Gemini flights behind itself.

After the Apollo-1-Katastrophe to 27. All planning was put to January 1967 provisionally on ice.

To 20. November 1967, after which, NASA communicated successful unmanned flight of Apollo 4 that the crew was intended the second flight under the designation Apollo 8, manned by McDivitt still for. Here the new rocket Saturn V for the first time manned to be used.

The reinforcement planned so far was assigned now to Apollo 7. As a new reinforcement that advanced from Bormans mission E: Charles Conrad, smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Gordon and Alan Bean, whereby Bean Clifton Williams replaced, which had died with an aircraft crash. If nothing unexpected happened, and which was also further used applied rotation principle, this would be the crew of Apollo 11, which first flight, for which a moon-landing vorgesen was.

The support crew (support crew) consisted of Edgar Mitchell, Fred Haise and Alfred. To 12. July 1968 moved Haise into the reinforcement of mission E and by Jack Lousma was replaced. As to 13. November Mitchell to spare substitution of the moon ferry of the mission F (Apollo 10) was nominated, advanced Stuart Roosa .

In the course of the summer it appeared 1968 that the lunar excursion module would be not in time operational. In August NASA decided to inform for the time being without the public that the mission E could be preferred and Bormans team should orbit the moon as mission C'.

After the mission C (Apollo 7) successfully ran, NASA decided to 10. November finally that Bormans crew should be first, which flies to the moon. This mission was nummeriert now as Apollo 8. The flight of McDivitt, Scott and Schweickart ran now as Apollo 9 and retarded far in the year 1969. Mission E was spareless painted.

The individual parts of the rocket, which were planned actually for mission E, were delivered between May and September 1968. At the 3. January 1969 could be rolled the Saturn V to the launch pad 39A. The rocket carried the serial number AS-504, the command cap CSM-104 and the lunar excursion module LM-3.


the Saturn V started at the 3. March 1969 around 16:00 UT von Cape Canaveral, Florida. In order to simplify communication, cap and ferry received for the first time own Rufnamen: Gumdrop for the command module and Spider for the lunar excursion module. Thus the tradition interrupted since Gemini 3 was continued that the astronauts were allowed to give own names to their spaceships.

Connecting speakers (CapCom) during the flight were the reinforcement Conrad, Gordon and Bean, as well as Stuart Roosa and Alfred Wordon of the support crew and Ronald Evans.

in the earth orbit

Apollo 9 with angedockter lunar excursion module in the orbit of the earth

after reaching the earth orbit were accomplished all maneuvers, how they were planned for the material moon-landing by Apollo 11. At this time the lunar excursion module was rocket still in the third stage of the Saturn. The point formed the unit from the Apollo Servicemodul and the command cap (CSM). The CSM separated from the rocket stage, turned by 180 degrees and docked with the nose at the lunar excursion module (LM) on. Now the group could depart from the rocket stage. This maneuver was terminated three hours after the start.

On the third flight day first Schweickart transferred, then McDivitt of the Apollo cap into the moon ferry. That was the first time that spacemen itself by a tunnel another moved by a spacecraft in. Schweickart suffered at this time under space illness, so that the program had to be shortened. However there was still the first television transmission from the inside of the landing ferry. Finally still the engines of the landing ferry were tested. Without the two spacecraft to separate the engines ran six minutes long.

For the next day, the 6. March 1969, the first outboard work of the Apollo project was intended. McDivitt and Schweickart rose a second time by the tunnel into the moon ferry. Schweickart left the ferry by the external hatch, only with one nylon-hurries secured. This extra Vehicular Activity (EH) took 47 minutes, was planned over two hours, whereby Schweickart up to the hatch of the Apollo cap had been supposed itself hangeln, in order to simulate a transferring in the free area. This part had to be void however.

At the same time Scott opened the hatch of the Apollo cap and bent themselves into space (see accompanying picture), was however connected with the life support systems of the spaceship still. Thus Scott nevertheless still came to its EH, which was intended for Gemini 8, but to be called off had.

On the fifth flight day the moon ferry then finally should maneuver. McDivitt and Schweickart separated the ferry from the parent ship and departed up to 180 km from the Apollo cap. After approximately four hours the descent stage was thrown off and the ascent stage was ignited, in order to accomplish the rendezvous with the Apollo cap. 6 hours and 22 minutes after the separation Spider docked Gumdrop. This was not however the first Docking of two manned spacecraft in the earth orbit, because this premiere had succeeded of Soyuz to 4 and Soyuz 5 two months before.

McDivitt and Schweickart rose again to Scott into the Apollo cap, and the lunar excursion module was thrown off. The engines of the moon ferry were ignited remote controlled and burned, until the fuel went to end. Spider remained in the earth orbit and glowed only 1981 in the atmosphere.


the remaining time in the orbit was dedicated to the earth observation. The crew returned 1,373 usable photos. Due to bad weather in the landing area the ignition of the brake rockets an orbit around the earth took place later than planned. Ten days after the start, to 13. March, over 17:00 UT landed on water Apollo 9 in the Atlantic and of the U.S.S Guadalcanal was surely saved. Contrary to Apollo 7 and Apollo 8 the cap floated upward equal with the point and did not only have to straighten up.

meaning for the Apollo program

Apollo 9 was a full success. With the moon ferry and the Apollo now also the last articles of equipment were in the universe tested space suit, which were necessary for a moon-landing. Also all rendezvous and coupling maneuvers were tested. The space illness, from which Schweickart had suffered, had led to the Verkürzung of the outboard work, but this risk was estimated as controllable. Nausea arose in each case at the beginning of a space flight, so that an astronaut suffering from space illness should have recovered up to the arrival on the moon.

Within NASA there were voices that the next mission, Apollo 10 should already try a manned moon-landing, but remained one with the original plan, which to 24. March was again expressly confirmed. Afterwards the next flight should combine the tests of Apollo 8 and Apollo 9: a moon flight with test of the ferry in the moon orbit.

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