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Apollo 10

May 18-26, 1969

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Apollo 10 returned navigation, site data

NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Roundup - June 13, 1969
The flight of Apollo 10, which rehearsed every major maneuver in the flight plan of Apollo 11 except the actual landing, "accomplished every objective," said MSC Director Dr. Robert Gilruth at a press conference Saturday.

"It proved the functions of the spacecraft in lunar orbit, gave us data on the landing sites and on navigation in the Moon's gravitational field. Also, much was learned about crew procedures and their workload factors," he said.

The mission of Apollo 10 was to "sort the unknowns" in lunar environment before the first Moon landing, now scheduled for July 20.

While the decision to hold to that schedule is forthcoming, some of the considerations from May's flight which will influence the decision are being discussed.

One change to be made as a result of Apollo 10 will be a delay in the lunar module 5's descent orbit insertion for one revolution in order to pick up high bit data from the OMNI antennas through Goldstone.

Among the major "unknowns" to be checked by Apollo 10 were the condition of the proposed landing sites and the reliability of the tracking systems so necessary to a successful landing.

Much of this information on selected lunar geographical points will come from the mission's 2000 still pictures, 18 rolls of movie film and recorded observations by the crew.

Based on the results of the Apollo 10 landing system, flight planners feel they can target the LM5 right over landing site #2, prime target for the July effort.

However, another Apollo 10 discovery will have to be taken into consideration.

There is a Mascon, a dense concentration of matter, located in Smythe's Sea, which accelerated trajectory and caused it to pass about four miles south of the prime target.

This data is being analysed for a better understanding of the moon's shape and peculiarities.

While the debriefing and data analysis continue, the crew and spacecraft for Apollo 11 are being checked out for a July 16 launch from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

Rehearsals for the all-important landing maneuver are being run as well as simulations of lunar surface activity.

Plans have also been announced for the first hand-carried American flag to be implanted on the lunar surface.

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