A Visual Voyage of Apollo 10
May 28, 2019
Apollo 10 lifted off on May 18, 1969. Aboard were astronauts
Thomas Stafford, Eugene Cernan and John Young. They designated their Command
Module “Charlie Brown” and their Lunar Module “Snoopy,” characters from the
Charles Schulz Peanuts© comic strip. During their eight-day mission, they
practiced all aspects of the lunar landing mission—except for the landing itself.
Three hours after launch, they were on their way to the
Moon. Young, piloting Charlie Brown, plucked Snoopy from the rocket’s third
stage. For three days, they coasted toward the Moon, sharing their mission with
viewers on Earth with the first color TV broadcasts from space.
Following the three-day journey from Earth, Apollo 10 fired
its Service Propulsion System engine and slipped into orbit around the Moon. Stafford
and Cernan in Snoopy undocked from Young in Charlie Brown. During more than
eight hours of free flight, they descended to within 47,000 feet of the lunar
surface and took detailed photographs of the Apollo 11 landing site. After the
successful test, Stafford and Cernan brought Snoopy back to Young in Charlie
Brown. They beamed amazing color TV images of the Moon’s surface, as well as
themselves in their spacecraft, back to Earth.
Watch the film taken by Apollo 10 during their low-altitude
pass in Snoopy, showing the approach to the Apollo 11 landing site.
“Houston, we are returning to Earth,” Apollo 10 Commander
Thomas Stafford radioed to mission control, announcing that the trans-Earth injection
had been successfully completed. At the conclusion of the mission, Stafford, Cernan
and Young could boast of having completed 31 orbits around the Moon before
splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on May 26, 1969. Apollo 10 had successfully
sorted out the unknowns in a dress rehearsal for the Moon landing, paving the
way for the next historic mission.
Watch the Apollo 10 splashdown and recovery.
Next up: Apollo 11!
Take a visual voyage through history and Apollo 10’s biggest moments,