The Apollo 10 command module is seen from the lunar module (LM) after separation in lunar orbit. On May 22, 1969, Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan boarded the LM which they had named “Snoopy,” after the Peanuts comic strip character. They undocked from the command module, named “Charlie Brown,” leaving John Young orbiting about 60 miles above the moon.

Credit: NASA

A half-century after Apollo 11’s Eagle lander kissed the Sea of Tranquility one almost forgets Apollo 10 — the mission that did everything short of actually landing on the lunar surface. To those of us watching it live here on Earth, it was one of the most exhilarating and frustrating orbital maneuvers ever witnessed. To get so tantalizingly close and yet not land; back when the Moon seemed about as exotic as a supermassive black hole and as surreal as a Dali painting.

Fifty years ago this coming week, I distinctly remember watching one of these close approaches on a TV in my middle school library. (In fact, the mission was the first to carry a color television camera and the astronauts’ nearly six hours of broadcasts won them an Emmy.) All at once, I was awestruck and overjoyed that we were that close to such an amazing celestial body. Remember, this was almost a decade before NASA’s Viking landers tantalized us with terrific pictures from the Martian surface and long before today’s orbital Venus missions. So, it almost seemed too good to be true.

However, it did enable NASA to fulfill President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to the nation; that of sending an American safely to the Moon and back before the calendar hit1970 Apollo 10 is a largely unsung mission, but it did enable NASA to reach that goal.

Thus, at 11.49 A.M. May 18, 1969, Apollo 10’s crew of John Young, Thomas Stafford, and Eugene Cernan bolted into low-Earth orbit were soon on their way to our little sister in the sky. Three days later, the combined command, service and lunar modules were inserted into a lunar orbit of some 60 nautical miles.

Did it make sense to get within 35,000 feet of some of the Moon’s high mountain peaks and return without an actual landing?

“Gene Cernan and I would have loved to be the first astronauts to walk on the Moon but there were still too many unknowns to make it feasible for our flight,” Stafford writes in the book, “We Have Capture” by Stafford with Michael Cassutt.

Thus, Apollo 10’s job was to iron out as many kinks as possible before Apollo 11 attempted an actual landing. This included detailed scouting of Apollo 11’s landing site; testing Snoopy’s descent and ascent capabilities and its rendezvous and docking capabilities in actual lunar orbit. This was no easy task. Remember, knowledge of the Moon’s gravitational field was much cruder than today.

Perhaps to give the mission some levity, with cartoonist Charles Schultz’s permission, the astronauts dubbed the command module Charlie Brown and the lunar module Snoopy. As it happened, some four days into the mission, the crew took the Snoopy lander out for a walk. And the odd-looking bug of a spacecraft, with Cernan and Stafford inside, began its descent towards the surface.

The Moon ceased being a gray ball and flattened out and gave us a horizon that almost looked like an Arizona desert, Cernan and co-author Don Davis write in “The Last Man on the Moon.”

As the Apollo 10 crew walks along a corridor on the way to Launch Complex 39B, mission commander Thomas P. Stafford pats the nose of Snoopy, the mission’s mascot, held by Jamye Flowers, astronaut Gordon Coopers’ secretary.

Credit: NASA

With the Sun only 15 degrees above the horizon, the two astronauts headed West. They began photographing landmarks along an imaginary line dubbed U.S. 1, in honor of the famed north-south American highway that still hugs our eastern seaboard.

A lunar rill (or shallow ancient volcanic channel) ran parallel to their flight path. There was a range of low mountains dubbed Oklahoma Hills to the left of the proposed Apollo 11 landing site, Stafford writes. A second rill — split into two craters forming what looked like the head of a snake — was crowned ‘diamondback,’ while astronaut Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmitt of Apollo’s geology support team named a ridge near the site for Stafford’s wife, Faye.

As the pair began prepared for Snoopy’s second pass over the Sea of Tranquility, they began procedures to jettison the descent stage. But a snafu with the position of an emergency automatic navigation system switch nearly caused disaster. Thus, when the astronauts tried to blow the bolts holding Snoopy’s descent stage, the lunar module began tumbling end over end and yawing left and right.

After some 15 seconds of a total loss of control, Stafford switched the spacecraft’s attitude (or spatial orientation) controller to manual. The descent stage finally detached and the ascent stage fired its engines and took them up for their crucial return rendezvous with Charlie Brown.

Lunar Module ascends in orbit.

Credit: NASA

If not for quick thinking by Stafford, in another couple of seconds, the experts surmised that Snoopy would have crashed into the lunar surface, Cernan writes.

All in all, Snoopy was only separated from Charlie Brown for eight hours and they were never more than 340 miles apart. And although at mission’s end, Apollo 10 appeared to be a spectacular success, NASA wasn’t taking chances. A NASA flight readiness team took two weeks to analyze all the mission’s data before formally giving Apollo 11 clearance for its upcoming July 16, 1969 launch.

But most of all, Apollo 10’s triumph reminds us that the whole Apollo program spanned an era of unbridled American resolve.

Cernan writes that two nights before Apollo 10’s launch, Vice President Spiro Agnew came by to have dinner with the crew and was brimming with enthusiasm about future plans for a permanent Moon base and a crewed mission to Mars by the end of the 20th century.

How times have changed.

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The Apollo(******************************************************************* )command module is seen from the lunar module (LM) after separation in lunar orbit. On Might22,1969, Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan boarded the LM which they had actually called “Snoopy,” after the Peanuts cartoon character. They undocked from the command module, called “Charlie Brown,” leaving John Young orbiting about 60 miles above the moon.

Credit: NASA

A half-century after Apollo11’s Eagle lander kissed the Sea of Serenity one practically forgets Apollo10– the objective that did whatever except really arriving on the lunar surface area. To those people seeing it live here in the world, it was among the most exciting and discouraging orbital maneuvers ever seen. To get so tantalizingly close and yet not land; back when the Moon appeared about as unique as a supermassive great void and as surreal as a Dali painting.(********* )

Fifty years ago this coming week, I noticeably keep in mind seeing among these close methods on a TELEVISION in my intermediate school library. (In reality, the objective was the very first to bring a color tv electronic camera and the astronauts’ almost 6 hours of broadcasts won them an Emmy. )Simultaneously, I was awestruck and overjoyed that we were that near such a fantastic heavenly body. Keep in mind, this was practically a years prior to NASA’s Viking landers enticed us with fantastic photos from the Martian surface area and long prior to today’s orbital Venus objectives. So, it practically appeared too great to be real.

Nevertheless, it did allow NASA to meet President John F. Kennedy’s

difficulty to the country; that of sending out an American securely to the Moon and back prior to the calendar hit1970 Apollo 10 is a mostly unrecognized objective, however it did allow NASA to reach that objective.

Hence, at11 49 A.M. Might18,1969, Apollo10’s team of John Young, Thomas Stafford, and Eugene Cernan bolted into low-Earth orbit were quickly on their method to our little sis in the sky. 3 days later on, the combined command, service and lunar modules were placed into a lunar orbit of some60 nautical miles.

Did it make good sense to get within35,000 feet of a few of the Moon’s high mountain peaks and return without a real landing?(********* )

(************** )

(************ )” Gene Cernan and I would have liked

to be the very first astronauts to stroll on the Moon however there were still a lot of unknowns to make it possible for our flight, “Stafford composes in the book, “We Have Capture” by Stafford with Michael Cassutt.

Hence, Apollo10’s task was to straighten out as lots of kinks as possible prior to Apollo11 tried a real landing. This consisted of in-depth hunting of Apollo11’s landing website; screening Snoopy’s descent and climb abilities and its rendezvous and docking abilities in real lunar orbit. This was no simple job. Keep in mind, understanding of the Moon’s gravitational field was much cruder than today.

Possibly to offer the objective some levity, with cartoonist Charles Schultz

‘s consent, the astronauts called the command module Charlie Brown and the lunar module Snoopy. As it took place, some 4 days into the objective, the team took the Snoopy lander out for a walk. And the odd-looking bug of a spacecraft, with Cernan and Stafford inside, started its descent towards the surface area.

The Moon stopped being a gray ball and flattened out and offered
us a horizon that practically appeared like an Arizona desert, Cernan and co-author Don Davis compose in” The Last Guy on the Moon.” (********* )

As the Apollo10 team strolls along a passage en route to Release Complex 39 B, objective leader Thomas P. Stafford pats the nose of Snoopy, the objective’s mascot, held by Jamye Flowers, astronaut Gordon Coopers ‘secretary.

Credit: NASA

With the Sun just 15 degrees above the horizon, the 2 astronauts headed West. They started photographing landmarks along a fictional line called U.S. 1, in honor of the well known north-south American highway that still hugs our eastern coast.

A lunar rill (or shallow ancient volcanic channel) ran parallel to their flight course. There was a variety of low mountains called Oklahoma Hills to the left of the proposed Apollo 11 landing website, Stafford composes. A 2nd rill– split into 2 craters forming what appeared like the head of a snake– was crowned ‘diamondback,’ while astronaut Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmitt of Apollo’s geology assistance group called a ridge near the website for Stafford’s other half, Faye.

As the set started gotten ready for Snoopy’s 2nd pass over the Sea of Serenity, they started treatments to reject the descent phase. However a snafu with the position of an emergency situation automated navigation system change almost triggered catastrophe. Hence, when the astronauts attempted to blow the bolts holding Snoopy’s descent phase, the lunar module started toppling end over end and yawing left and ideal.

After some 15 seconds of an overall loss of control, Stafford changed the spacecraft’s mindset (or spatial orientation) controller to handbook. The descent phase lastly separated and the climb phase fired its engines and took them up for their vital return rendezvous with Charlie Brown.

Lunar Module rises in orbit.

Credit: NASA

If not for fast thinking by Stafford, in another number of seconds, the professionals speculated that Snoopy would have crashed into the lunar surface area, Cernan composes.

All in all, Snoopy was just separated from Charlie Brown for 8 hours and they were never ever more than 340 miles apart. And although at objective’s end, Apollo 10 seemed a magnificent success, NASA wasn’t taking possibilities. A NASA flight preparedness group took 2 weeks to evaluate all the objective’s information prior to officially providing Apollo 11 clearance for its upcoming July 16, 1969 launch.

However many of all, Apollo 10’s victory advises us that the entire Apollo program covered an age of unchecked American willpower.

Cernan composes that 2 nights prior to Apollo 10’s launch, Vice President Spiro Agnew visited to have supper with the team and was overflowing with interest about future strategies for an irreversible Moon base and a crewed objective to Mars by the end of the 20 th century.

How times have actually altered.

” readability =”117
55366949576″ >

.

The Apollo 10 command module is seen from the lunar module (LM) after separation in lunar orbit. On May 22, 1969, Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan boarded the LM which they had actually called “Snoopy,” after the Peanuts cartoon character. They undocked from the command module, called “Charlie Brown,” leaving John Young orbiting about 60 miles above the moon.

Credit: NASA

.

.

A half-century after Apollo 11’s Eagle lander kissed the Sea of Serenity one practically forgets Apollo 10– the objective that did whatever except really arriving on the lunar surface area. To those people seeing it live here in the world, it was among the most exciting and discouraging orbital maneuvers ever seen. To get so tantalizingly close and yet not land; back when the Moon appeared about as unique as a supermassive great void and as surreal as a Dali painting.

Fifty years ago this coming week, I noticeably keep in mind seeing among these close methods on a TELEVISION in my intermediate school library. (In reality, the objective was the very first to bring a color tv electronic camera and the astronauts’ almost 6 hours of broadcasts won them an Emmy.) Simultaneously, I was awestruck and overjoyed that we were that near such a fantastic heavenly body. Keep in mind, this was practically a years prior to NASA’s Viking landers enticed us with fantastic photos from the Martian surface area and long prior to today’s orbital Venus objectives. So, it practically appeared too great to be real.

Nevertheless, it did allow NASA to meet President John F. Kennedy’s difficulty to the country; that of sending out an American securely to the Moon and back prior to the calendar hit1970 Apollo 10 is a mostly unrecognized objective, however it did allow NASA to reach that objective.

Hence, at11 49 A.M. May 18, 1969, Apollo 10’s team of John Young, Thomas Stafford, and Eugene Cernan bolted into low-Earth orbit were quickly on their method to our little sis in the sky. 3 days later on, the combined command, service and lunar modules were placed into a lunar orbit of some 60 nautical miles.

Did it make good sense to get within 35, 000 feet of a few of the Moon’s high mountain peaks and return without a real landing?

“Gene Cernan and I would have liked to be the very first astronauts to stroll on the Moon however there were still a lot of unknowns to make it possible for our flight,” Stafford composes in the book, “We Have Capture” by Stafford with Michael Cassutt.

Hence, Apollo 10’s task was to straighten out as lots of kinks as possible prior to Apollo 11 tried a real landing. This consisted of in-depth hunting of Apollo 11’s landing website; screening Snoopy’s descent and climb abilities and its rendezvous and docking abilities in real lunar orbit. This was no simple job. Keep in mind, understanding of the Moon’s gravitational field was much cruder than today.

Possibly to offer the objective some levity, with cartoonist Charles Schultz’s consent, the astronauts called the command module Charlie Brown and the lunar module Snoopy. As it took place, some 4 days into the objective, the team took the Snoopy lander out for a walk. And the odd-looking bug of a spacecraft, with Cernan and Stafford inside, started its descent towards the surface area.

The Moon stopped being a gray ball and flattened out and offered us a horizon that practically appeared like an Arizona desert, Cernan and co-author Don Davis compose in “The Last Guy on the Moon.”

.

.

As the Apollo 10 team strolls along a passage en route to Release Complex 39 B, objective leader Thomas P. Stafford pats the nose of Snoopy, the objective’s mascot, held by Jamye Flowers, astronaut Gordon Coopers’ secretary.

Credit: NASA

.

.

With the Sun just 15 degrees above the horizon, the 2 astronauts headed West. They started photographing landmarks along a fictional line called U.S. 1, in honor of the well known north-south American highway that still hugs our eastern coast.

A lunar rill (or shallow ancient volcanic channel) ran parallel to their flight course. There was a variety of low mountains called Oklahoma Hills to the left of the proposed Apollo 11 landing website, Stafford composes. A 2nd rill– split into 2 craters forming what appeared like the head of a snake– was crowned ‘diamondback,’ while astronaut Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmitt of Apollo’s geology assistance group called a ridge near the website for Stafford’s other half, Faye.

As the set started gotten ready for Snoopy’s 2nd pass over the Sea of Serenity, they started treatments to reject the descent phase. However a snafu with the position of an emergency situation automated navigation system change almost triggered catastrophe. Hence, when the astronauts attempted to blow the bolts holding Snoopy’s descent phase, the lunar module started toppling end over end and yawing left and ideal.

After some 15 seconds of an overall loss of control, Stafford changed the spacecraft’s mindset (or spatial orientation) controller to handbook. The descent phase lastly separated and the climb phase fired its engines and took them up for their vital return rendezvous with Charlie Brown.

.

.

Lunar Module rises in orbit.

Credit: NASA

.

.

If not for fast thinking by Stafford, in another number of seconds, the professionals speculated that Snoopy would have crashed into the lunar surface area , Cernan composes.

All in all, Snoopy was just separated from Charlie Brown for 8 hours and they were never ever more than 340 miles apart. And although at objective’s end, Apollo 10 seemed a magnificent success, NASA wasn’t taking possibilities. A NASA flight preparedness group took 2 weeks to evaluate all the objective’s information prior to officially providing Apollo 11 clearance for its upcoming July 16, 1969 launch.

However many of all, Apollo 10’s victory advises us that the entire Apollo program covered an age of unchecked American willpower.

Cernan composes that 2 nights prior to Apollo 10’s launch, Vice President Spiro Agnew visited to have supper with the team and was overflowing with interest about future strategies for an irreversible Moon base and a crewed objective to Mars by the end of the 20 th century.

How times have actually altered.

.