On This Day In Space: May 18, 1969: Apollo 10 launches for lunar landing dress rehearsal (Image Credit: Space.com)
On May 18, 1969, Apollo 10 launched on a mission to the moon.
Apollo 10 was considered a “dress rehearsal” for a lunar landing. It did everything the same as a real lunar landing mission, except for the part where the lander actually touches the lunar surface. The commander was Tom Stafford. Eugene Cernan piloted the lunar module, which was nicknamed “Snoopy,” and John Young piloted the command module nicknamed “Charlie Brown.”
They launched from Kennedy Space Center on a Saturn V rocket and reached lunar orbit three days later. On the first day, they made the first live color TV transmission from space. On the fourth day, Cernan and Stafford separated from Young and descended toward the lunar surface in Snoopy.
The closest they got was about 9 miles above the surface. When Snoopy started heading back to Charlie Brown, the module started going bonkers. It was spinning and rolling uncontrollably for about 30 seconds because a switch was in the wrong position, but the crew was able to recover from it and return home safely.
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