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Apollo 10

May 18-26, 1969

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LM to Buzz Moon - Apollo X Rehearses For Lunar Landing

NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Roundup - April 4, 1969
Apollo X, scheduled for launch May 18, will be a lunar orbit mission in which two crewmen will descend to within 50,000 feet of the Moon's surface.

The decision last week to fly the mission as previously planned followed a series of reviews of technical and operational data from the Apollo IX flight in earth orbit last month and an examination of options for the next mission.

The eight-day Apollo X flight is scheduled for launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, with Thomas P. Stafford as spacecraft commander, John W. Young as command module pilot, and Eugene Cernan as lunar module pilot. The backup crew is L. Gordon Cooper, Donn F. Eisele and Edgar D. Mitchell.

The purpose of the flight is to provide additional experience in combined system operation during the 3-day trip to the vicinity of the Moon and in lunar orbit. With the exception of the actual landing of the lunar module on the lunar surface, the mission plan is the same as for the lunar landing mission.

While the spacecraft circles the Moon at an altitude of about 60 miles, Stafford and Cernan in the lunar module will separate from the command and service modules, approach twice to within about 10 miles of one of the preselected Apollo landing sites, then rejoin Young in the command module in maneuvers similar to those performed in Earth orbit by Apollo IX.
Backing Out of Garage - Drawing shows a complete Apollo spacecraft pulling away from the S-IVB third stage after translunar injection in the Apollo X mission. After a good translunar injection is verified, the command/service module will turn around and dock with the lunar module and extract the LM from the spacecraft-LM adapter. After insertion into lunar orbit, Apollo X commander Tom Stafford and lunar module pilot Gene Cernan will man the LM and separate for a descent to within eight miles of the lunar surface while command module pilot John Young waits for their return in a rehearsal of a lunar orbit rendezvous following a manned lunar landing.

The closest approach to the surface will be at pericynthion of the lunar module transfer orbit. Because of propellant limitation in the ascent stage for this flight it will be impossible to make a landing and subsequent liftoff from the Moon.

During 11 more revolutions of the Moon, the crew will make landmark sightings, take photographs, and transmit live TV views of the lunar surface, the Earth from lunar distance, and their own activities inside the command module.

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