Liftoff of Apollo 10
May 17, 2021
Liftoff of Apollo 10!
"10, 9, we have ignition sequence start, engines ON, 5, 4, 3, 2, all engines running, launch commit, liftoff. We have liftoff 49 minutes past the hour. Stafford reports the clock has started. The tower is clear!"- NASA PAO Jack King's commentary. Apollo 10 launched 52 years ago today, on May 18, 1969.
Astronauts Thomas Stafford, Gene Cernan, and John Young launched from Launch Complex 39-B, the first and only Saturn V to launch from pad 39-B.
Every other Apollo mission had launched from pad 39-A, which is now leased by SpaceX for both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches.
The mission objectives for Apollo 10, according to NASA were to: “demonstrate crew, space vehicle, and mission support facilities performance during a piloted lunar mission with command service modules and lunar module; and to evaluate lunar module performance in the cislunar and lunar environment."
Stafford, Cernan, and Young were on their way to the Moon in their Command Module, named Charlie Brown, and their Lunar Module, named Snoopy.
Apollo 10 entered lunar orbit on May 21, 1969. Commander Thomas Stafford and Lunar Module Pilot Gene Cernan entered the Lunar Module Snoopy for a test of the LM while orbiting the Moon. They came within 50,000 feet of the lunar surface. While Stafford and Cernan piloted the LM, John Young became the first human to fly solo around Earth's Moon.
Charlie Brown splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on May 26, 1969. The stage was set for Apollo 11.
Caption: John Mulnix, Cosmosphere Volunteer