May 17, 2012
A Family Affair
image by Retro Space Images/NASA
1969 was an exciting year for lunar travel. This week, 43 years ago, the dress rehearsal for the first lunar landing was made by the Apollo 10 mission. Thomas Stafford (right of globe), John Young (left) and Gene Cernan (top), were the first to fly the lunar module in lunar orbit, and descend to within 47,000 feet of the Mare Tranquillitatis. For the families left behind it was nail biting anxiety as their husbands and fathers flew the test mission to pave the way for Neil and Buzz in a few months. It was an important mission, the LM had not flown in the vicinity of the Moon before and the effects of the mascons needed to be observed as they flew low over the lunar mountains along the flightpath. Apart from a minor switch position error at descent stage separation which caused a brief tumble, the mission was an unqualified success, opening the road for Apollo 11 in July, 1969.
In this portrait the crew and families gather together for a photo next to the NASA moon globe. Test pilots/astronauts were mostly family men, just like most of us. The families were just as brave to allow their husbands and fathers to do the work they did, and we are all thankful for their support for letting them go to THE MOON!
Apollo 10: Launch May 18, 1969, Splashdown May 26, 1969. Mission Elapsed Time: 8d 00h 03m 23s
Yesterday's LPOD: Moon Bliss
Tomorrow's LPOD: Horns And Wings