Former NASA astronaut Jim McDivitt, who commanded the important Gemini IV and Apollo 9 missions – both crucial for NASA’s ability to reach the Moon — has died at age 93. His family said he passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 13, 2022.Continue reading “Remembering the Gutsy and Hilarious Apollo Astronaut Jim McDivitt”
Editor’s note: We posted this yesterday only to find that the original video we used had been pulled. Now, we’ve reposted the article with a new and improved version of the video, thanks to Spacecraft Films.
To the moon! The goal people most remember from the Apollo program was setting foot on the surface of our closest neighbor. To get there required a heck of a lot of firepower, bundled in the Saturn V rocket. The video above gives you the unique treat of watching each rocket launch at the same time.
Some notes on the rockets you see:
- Apollos 4 and 6 were uncrewed test flights.
- Apollo 9 was an Earth-orbit flight to (principally) test the lunar module.
- Apollo 8 and 10 were both flights around the moon (with no lunar landing).
- Apollo 13 was originally scheduled to land on the moon but famously experienced a dangerous explosion that forced the astronauts to come back to Earth early — but safely.
- Apollos 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 safely made it to the moon’s surface and back.
- Skylab’s launch was also uncrewed; the Saturn V was used in this case to send a space station into Earth’s orbit that was used by three crews in the 1970s.
- You don’t see Apollo 7 pictured here because it did not use the Saturn V rocket; it instead used the Saturn IB. It was an Earth-orbiting flight and the first successful manned one of the Apollo program. (Apollo 1 was the first scheduled crew, but the three men died in a launch pad fire.)
And if this isn’t enough firepower for you, how about all 135 space shuttle launches at the same time?
Hard to believe the decades fly by so fast. It was 45 years ago today that the crew of Apollo 9 took off from the Kennedy Space Center en route to a big test of the lunar module. Being March 1969, history shows that it was only about four months later when men touched the moon for the first time ever.
Getting to the moon, however, required making sure that the lunar landing craft was in tip-top shape. This was the first test of the lunar module in space. Apollo 9 astronauts Jim McDivitt, Rusty Schweickart and Dave Scott spent several days shaking out the spacecraft in the relative safety of Earth orbit.
The mission is perhaps best remembered for the first docking of “Spider” (the lunar module) and “Gumdrop” (the command module), but plenty happened during their March 3-13, 1969 mission. You can relive some of the most memorable moments of training and the mission in the gallery below. More information on the mission is available at NASA.
“On the success of Apollo 9 mission hangs the hope for future manned missions to the Moon,” said famous CBS newsman Walter Cronkite. HD TV it’s not, but this is a fun look back at actual news footage from the Apollo 9 mission, which landed back on Earth on March 13, 1969, forty-four years ago today.
The ten-day Apollo 9 mission was the first manned flight of the lunar module and while in Earth orbit the crew tested the spacecraft for lunar operations. The crew included Commander Jim McDivitt, Command Module pilot Dave Scott and one of our favorite astronauts, the Lunar Module pilot Rusty Schweickart.
They successfully demonstrated the complete rendezvous and docking operations and conducted an EVA during their 151 Earth orbits. The mission carried the largest payload at that point in time to Earth orbit.