46th Anniversary of the Apollo 9 mission

Apollo 9 insignia

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APOLLO 9
first test of the Lunar Module LM in earth orbit
Command Module:  Gumdrop
Lunar Module:  Spider
Launch:  03-Mar-1969 16:00:00 UTC
Landing:  13-Mar-1969 17:00:54 UTC
Earth orbits:  151
Mission duration:  10 d   1 h   0 min   54 s
THE APOLLO 9 CREW
 
James McDivitt (l)  - Commander
David Scott (c)  - Command Module Pilot
Russell Schweickart (r)  - Lunar Module Pilot
James McDivitt (l), CDR - David Scott (c), CMP - Russell Schweickart (r), LMP
Image from: S69-17590, Credit NASA
LM Spider in lunar landing configuration
Image from: AS09-21-3212, Credit NASA

EN: With Apollo 9 the second spacecraft used in the Apollo program was flew for the first. The Lunar Module (LM) Spider was the first manned spacecraft used in space which was not able to re-enter the earth's atmosphere. It was constructed to be an extremely light weight and to be used to land on and to ascend from the moon where there is no atmosphere. Therefore the LM was protected by no heat shield and would have been burned up along with his crew if it would have entered the earth atmosphere.

DE: Mit Apollo 9 wurde das zweit in den Apollo Missionen verwendete Raumschiff erstmalig geflogen. Das Lunar Modul LM war das erste verwendete Raumfahrzeug, dass nicht über die Fähigkeit des Wiedereintritts in die Erdatmosphäre verfügte. Es war für Landungen auf und Stars vom atmosphärelosen Mond extrem leicht gebaut und verfügte über keinen Hitzeschild. Bei einem Wiedereintritt wäre d as LM mitsamt seiner Besatzung verglüht.

EN: The LM consists of two stages. One is for the descent on the lunar surface, the descent stage. The other stage with the crew cabin is the ascent stage, it is used for ascending from the lunar surface. The ascent stage therefore is separated from the descent stage which than functions as a start pad. Also firing the ascent stage during the descent two the moon and separating the stages (fire-in-the-hole abort) was a possibility. It was meant for an emergency abort of a lunar landing if anything went wrong, e.g. if the LM was about to crash onto the moon's surface. With Apollo 9 in earth orbit this fire-in-the-hole-abort was successfully tested.

DE: Das LM besteht aus zwei Stufen. Die eine Stufe dient dem Abstieg zur und der Landung auf der Mondoberfläche, die Abstiegsstufe. Die zweite Stufe, die Aufstiegsstufe mit der Kabine für die Astronauten, diente dem Wiederaufstieg vom Mond. Die beiden Stufen wurden dazu getrennt und die Abstiegsstufe diente dann als Startplattform. Es war auch möglich während des Betriebs der Abstiegsstufe die Aufstiegsstufe zu zünden und dann die Stufen zu Trennen. Diese Möglichkeit ("fire-in-the-hole abort") diente dazu, eine Mondlandung im Notfall abzubrechen, wenn das LM z.B. drohte auf den Mond abzustürzen. Apollo 9 hat diese Abbruchverfahren im Erdorbit erfolgreich getestet.

LM Spider ascent stage
Image from: AS09-21-3236, Credit NASA
All video, image, audio and transcript material: Credit NASA
First digitalization of many videos and audios: Credit
Kipp Teague, Gerald Megason, Ken Glover, Robert Godwin, Mick Hyde, Peter Dayton, Gary Neff

Special thanks to A Tribute to Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station for the efforts of collecting media and giving a tribute to all who worked there.