Apollo 9

Apollo 9
Gumdrop Meets Spider - GPN-2000-001100.jpg
CM pilot David Scott performs a stand-up EVA
from CM Gumdrop, seen from docked LM Spider
Mission typeCrewed Earth orbital
CSM/LM flight (D)
  • CSM: 1969-018A[1]
  • LM ascent stage: 1969-018C[1]
  • LM descent stage: 1969-018D[1]
  • CSM: 3769
  • LM: 3771
Mission duration10 days, 1 hour, 54 seconds[2]
Orbits completed151[3]
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass95,231 pounds (43,196 kg)[4]
Landing mass11,094 pounds (5,032 kg)
Crew size3
  • CSM: Gumdrop
  • LM: Spider
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
Recovered byUSS Guadalcanal
Decay dateOctober 23, 1981 (LM ascent stage)
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 orbit
Perigee altitude110 nautical miles (204 km)
Apogee altitude268 nautical miles (497 km)
Inclination33.8 degrees
Period91.55 minutes
EpochMarch 5, 1969[5]
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 insignia Apollo 9 crew
Left to right: McDivitt, Scott, Schweickart 

Apollo 9 (March 3–13, 1969) was the third human spaceflight in NASA's Apollo program. Flown in low Earth orbit, it was the second crewed Apollo mission that the United States launched via a Saturn V rocket, and was the first flight of the full Apollo spacecraft: the command and service module (CSM) with the Lunar Module (LM). The mission was flown to qualify the LM for lunar orbit operations in preparation for the first Moon landing by demonstrating its descent and ascent propulsion systems, showing that its crew could fly it independently, then rendezvous and dock with the CSM again, as would be required for the first crewed lunar landing. Other objectives of the flight included firing the LM descent engine to propel the spacecraft stack as a backup mode (as would be required on the Apollo 13 mission), and use of the portable life support system backpack outside the LM cabin.

The three-man crew consisted of Commander James McDivitt, Command Module Pilot David Scott, and Lunar Module Pilot Rusty Schweickart. 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 Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5. The mission concluded on March 13 and was a complete success. 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.

  1. ^ a b c Orloff & Harland, p. 227.
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference nasa nine was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Orloff & Harland, p. 230.
  4. ^ Ezell 1988, Table 2-37: "Apollo 9 Characteristics".
  5. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "SATCAT". Jonathan's Space Pages. Retrieved March 23, 2014.