On The Way
On March 3, 1969, NASA launched the Apollo 9 mission to test the first crewed Lunar Module spacecraft that would pave the way for future moon landings. See how the mission worked in photos here.
This Image: In preparation for the March 3, 1969 launch of the mission, the Apollo 9 consisting of Spacecraft 104, Lunar Module 3 and the Saturn 504 rides a crawler-transporter on its mobile launch tower from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Complex 39, Pad A at Kennedy Space Center.
Ready for A Mission
In March of 1966, three astronauts were chosen for the Apollo 9 mission prime crew: David R. Scott, command module pilot; James A. McDivitt, commander; and Russell L. Schweickart, lunar module pilot.
Three astronauts complete a fit and function test of the Apollo spacecraft 101 Command module. This astronauts — from left to right are astronauts James A. McDivitt, David R. Scott, and Russell L. Schweickart — were later named as the prime crew for the Apollo 9 space mission.
Seeing the Big Picture
Engineers created a model of the probe portion of the Apollo spacecraft's docking system to demonstrate how the Command Module connects with the Lunar Module through the drogue. The main docking structure becomes the tunnel astronauts travel from one module to another. The tunnel is made of a section of the nose of the Command Module and part of the top of the Lunar Module, which are both removed after docking is complete to create the tunnel.
Inside the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building at Kennedy Space Center, team members move the Apollo Spacecraft 104 Command/Service Module from its work stand onto the transfer stand. The module will soon be mated to Spacecraft Lunar Module Adapter-12 in preparations for the Apollo 9 mission on March 3, 1969.
Learning the Ropes
During water egress training at the Gulf of Mexico in November of 1968, the Apollo 9 prime crew — from foreground, astronauts James A. McDivitt, commander; David R. Scott, command module pilot; and Russell L. Schweickart, lunar module pilot — sit inside an Apollo command module boilerplate.
In the Manned Spacecraft Center inside Building 260, the prime crew of the Apollo 9 space mission takes part in water egress training. Astronaut James A. McDivitt, commander, exits the boilerplate as astronauts David R. Scott, command module pilot and Russell L. Schweickart, lunar module pilot, wait in a life raft.
November 6, 1968, the backup crew for the Apollo 9 mission — consisting of astronauts Charles Conrad Jr., Richard F. Gordon Jr., and Alan L. Bean. — undergo training. In the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building at Kennedy Space Center the an astronaut prepares to enter the Apollo 9 spacecraft for an egress test and an altitude run simulation.
At the Space Environment Simulation Laboratory, in Building 32 inside Chamber "A" prime crew members for the Apollo 9 space mission familiarize themselves with the extravehicular equipment. Astronaut Russell L. Schweickart, lunar module pilot for the mission takes part in the preparatory activity.
During a February 23, 1969 Apollo 9 Countdown Demonstration Test, the Apollo 9 prime crew — astronauts James A. McDivitt, commander; David R. Scott, command module pilot; and Russell L. Schweickart, lunar module pilot prepare for the upcoming 10-day Earth-orbital space mission. The dress rehearsal for the crewmen takes place in the White Room at Launch Complex 39, Pad A at Kennedy Space Center.
Launch Time Looms
On March 3, 1969 the Apollo 9 prime crew enters a transfer van which carries them from the Kenned Space Center's Manned Spacecraft Operations Building to Launch Complex 39, Pad A where their spacecraft waits during the prelaunch countdown. Commander McDivitt invites Command Module Pilot Scott to enter the van while Lunar Module Pilot Schweickart walks behind with astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., chief of the Astronaut Office at the Manned Spacecraft Center. The Apollo 9 launch took place at 11 a.m. (EST).
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Christine Lunsford joined the Space.com team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with Space.com, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.