Apollo 9 in Photos: NASA Tests the Spidery Lunar Module

Catching Glimpses of Home


As the Apollo 9 spacecraft made its 92nd orbit around Earth, this image of the Mississippi River from Vicksburg to Greenville was snapped. As part of the SO65 Multispectral Terrain Photography Experiment, the image captures Vicksburg, in the southeast corner, Greenville to the north, Mississippi on the east, Louisiana to the lower left and Arkansas at the upper left.

Almost Home


The Apollo 9 spacecraft nears the end of its 10-day Earth-orbital mission with astronauts James A. McDivitt, David R. Scott, and Russell L. Schweickart in tow. The craft arrives at the Atlantic recovery area just 4.5 nautical miles from the prime recover ship, USS Guadalcanal on March 13, 1969 at 12:00:43 p.m. (EST).

Practice, Practice


During a November 20, 1968 water egress training, the Apollo 9 prime crew practices the necessary skill from the Apollo Command Module Boilerplate 1102 in the Gulf of Mexico. Astronaut David R. Scott, command module pilot, exits the boilerplate while astronauts James A. McDivitt, commander; and Russell L. Schweickart, lunar module pilot, await their turns inside. Around the module, MSC swimmer assist in the exercise. Balloons atop the module were used to right the boilerplate before the astronauts exited.

Up to Safety


Testing a new type of rescue net, Astronaut James A. McDivitt, commander of the Apollo 9 prime crew, rides up to a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter as part of water egress training in the Gulf of Mexico.

Watching and Waiting


A recovery helicopter from the USS Guadalcanal observes the craft just after the Apollo 9 splashdown. Tucked safely inside the Command Module, astronauts James A. McDivitt, David R. Scott, and Russell L. Schweickart, await orders to egress.

Up, Up and Away


On deck the Apollo 9 prime crew watches as the Apollo 9 Command Module is raised to the deck of the USS Guadalcanal. The crew was carried by helicopter to the ship after the 10-day Earth-orbital mission ended successfully.

Warmly Welcomed


On March 13, 1969, the Apollo 9 crewmen returned to Earth, welcomed on the USS Guadalcanal warmly by a crowd of newsmen, Navy and NASA personnel. Two of the astronauts salute the excited group.

Ready for the Future


In November of 1968, the Apollo 9 backup crew, consisting of (from left to right) astronauts Charles Conrad Jr. (holding hatch), Richard F. Gordon Jr., and Alan L. Bean stands on the NASA Motor Vessel Retriever deck preparing for water egress training in the Gulf of Mexico. Sometime after this training, the three astronauts were named prime crew for the Apollo 12 lunar landing mission.

Russell L. Schweickart


Astronaut Russell L. Schweickart was chosen for the prime crew of the Apollo 9 space mission. He was the lunar module pilot for the 10-day Earth-orbital mission that launched on March 3, 1969.

James A. McDivitt


Astronaut James A. McDivitt was chosen as commander for the prime crew of the Apollo 9 space mission. Here he wears his uniform showing his rank of Air Force Colonel. Since the time of this photo, McDivitt retired from the United State Air Force and, in June of 1972, left NASA.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

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.