Apollo 10: ‘Tell the world, we have arrived’

Fifty years ago, Apollo 10 launched from Cape Kennedy on May 18, 1969. The Apollo 10 mission encompassed all aspects of an actual crewed lunar landing, except the landing. It was the first flight of a complete, crewed Apollo spacecraft to operate around the Moon. The crew members were Commander Thomas Stafford, Command Module Pilot John Young and Lunar Module Pilot Eugene Cernan. Objectives included a scheduled eight-hour lunar orbit of the separated lunar module, or LM, and descent to about nine miles off the moon’s surface before ascending for rendezvous and docking with the command and service module, or CSM, in about a 70-mile circular lunar orbit. Pertinent data to be gathered in this landing rehearsal dealt with the lunar potential, or gravitational effect, to refine the Earth-based crewed spaceflight network tracking techniques, and to check out LM programmed trajectories and radar, and lunar flight control systems. Twelve television transmissions to Earth were planned. All mission objectives were achieved.

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