18 Facts About Apollo 10


Apollo 10 was a human spaceflight, the fourth crewed mission in the United States Apollo program, and the second to orbit the Moon.

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Stafford and Cernan observed and photographed Apollo 10 11's planned landing site in the Sea of Tranquility.

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Apollo 10 spent approximately 61 hours orbiting the Moon, for about eight of which Stafford and Cernan flew the LM apart from Young in the CSM, and about 8 days total in space.

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Apollo 10 8, flown to the Moon's orbit without an LM, was considered a "C-prime" mission, but its success gave NASA the confidence to skip the "E" mission, which was planned to be testing of the full Apollo 10 spacecraft in medium or high Earth orbit.

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NASA official George Mueller favored a landing attempt on Apollo 10; he was known for his aggressive approach to moving the Apollo program forward.

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Apollo 10 flew in Gemini 3 with Gus Grissom in 1965, becoming the first American not of the Mercury Seven to fly in space.

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Backup crew for Apollo 10 was L Gordon Cooper as commander, Donn F Eisele as command module pilot and Edgar Mitchell as lunar module pilot.

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Apollo 10 was to adhere as closely as possible to the plans for Apollo 11, including its trajectory to and from lunar orbit, the time line of events during the mission, and even the angle of the Sun at ALS-2.

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ALS-1, given that number because it was the furthest to the east of the candidate sites, and located in the Sea of Tranquility, had been extensively photographed by Apollo 8 astronauts; at the suggestion of scientist-astronaut Harrison Schmitt, the launch of Apollo 10 had been postponed a day so ALS-2 could be photographed under proper conditions.

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Apollo 10 astronauts undertook five hours of formal training for each hour of the mission's eight-day duration.

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Launch vehicle for Apollo 10 was a Saturn V, designated AS-505, the fifth flight-ready Saturn V to be launched and the third to take astronauts to orbit.

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Apollo spacecraft for the Apollo 10 mission was composed of Command Module 106, Service Module 106, Lunar Module 4, a spacecraft-lunar module adapter, numbered as SLA-13A, and a launch escape system.

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Apollo 10 launched from Pad 39B and was the only flight to launch from that pad during the Apollo program, and it was the only flight to be controlled from Firing Room 3 there.

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Apollo 10 was the first mission to carry a color television camera inside the spacecraft, and mission controllers in Houston watched as Young performed the maneuver.

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At the time of its departure from lunar orbit, Apollo 10 had orbited the Moon 31 times over the span of about 61 hours and 37 minutes.

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The Apollo 10 crew reached the farthest point in their orbit around the far side of the Moon at about the same time Earth's rotation put Houston nearly a full Earth diameter farther away.

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Additionally, the precision of lunar orbital navigation improved with Apollo 10 and, combined with data from Apollo 8, NASA expected that it had achieved a level of precision sufficient to execute the first crewed lunar landing.

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Apollo 10 commanded the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California, retiring in November 1979 as a lieutenant general.

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