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Night Vision—Apollo 9, 50th Anniversary

Posted March 4, 2019 - by Thomas Quayle

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Apollo 9 Launch.
Apollo 9 launched from Kennedy Space Center on March 3, 1969. (Image credit: NASA/JSC)


Fifty years ago, one of the most important tests of the Apollo mission was launched into orbit. Apollo 9 was the unsung hero of America's race to the Moon. It would be the first time that the entire Saturn V rocket launched with its full weight and payload. This included the Lunar Module and the Command Service Modules.

The Apollo 9 Command Service Modules.
The Apollo 9 Command Service Modules, photgraphed from the Lunar Module,"Spider'"on the fifth day of the Apollo 9 earth-orbital mission. (Image credit: NASA/JSC)


Three astronauts spent ten days in orbit testing every functional aspect of the flight hardware, as well as simulating the critical phases of spacecraft separation and rendezvous. Although Apollo 9 did not face the all dangers that future flights would encounter, it did uncover previously unknown hazards that all future astronauts would need to be aware of.

The Apollo 9 Lunar Module, Spider.
The Apollo 9 Lunar Module, "Spider", photographed from the Command Service Module. (Image credit: NASA/JSC)


Join us on Thursday, March 7th and Saturday, March 9, as we continue our race to the Moon in Night Vision: Apollo 9, 50th Anniversary.  Tickets are just $2.00 per person for the public, and free for members of Clark Planetarium. Get your tickets now.