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The Apollo 9 Mission (1969)

Hardin-Simmons University Library

Sound | 1969

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  •  Dr. George Miller and Dr. Wernher von Braun. Von Braun developed rocket technology for Nazi Germany before moving to the United States as part of Operation Paperclip. He is credited with inventing the Saturn V launch vehicle. 
  •  Launch on March 3, 1969 
  •  Testing of the Lunar Module begins 
  •  Extravehicular activity 
  •  Rendezvous maneuvers between the Lunar and Command Modules 
  •  With the testing of the Lunar Module complete, the pace of the mission begins to relax 
  •  Reentry and splashdown on March 13 
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Produced for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, this government film chronicles Apollo 9 from countdown to splashdown. The primary objective of the mission was to test the performance of the Lunar Module and its compatibility with the combined Apollo spacecraft. Spending 10 days in Earth orbit, the flight crew successfully demonstrated all the maneuvers necessary to land men on the Moon, liftoff from the lunar surface, and rendezvous with the Command and Service Module.
NASA astronaut David Randolph “Dave” Scott was born on June 6, 1932, at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He studied engineering at the University of Michigan for one year before receiving an invitation to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. Graduating fifth in his class in 1954, Scott chose to serve in the United States Air Force. Following his tour of duty at Soesterberg Air Base, Netherlands, he returned to the United States to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning a Master of Science degree in aeronautics and astronautics as well as an Engineer in Aeronautics and Astronautics degree.  
Scott began his career with NASA in October 1963 when he selected to join the third group of astronauts. He flew three space missions: as Pilot for Gemini 8 in March 1966, during which he and Command Pilot Neil Armstrong performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space; as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 9 in March 1969, the first mission to complete an earth-orbital qualification and verification test of all Apollo spacecraft and flight operations necessary for a lunar landing; and as Commander for Apollo 15 in July 1971, the first extended scientific exploration of the Moon’s surface during which Scott became the eighth person to ever walk on the Moon. In total, he logged 546 hours and 54 minutes in space, of which 20 hours and 46 minutes were spent in extravehicular activity. 
Scott remained with NASA following his space missions, becoming the Special Assistant for Mission Operations for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1972 and Director of NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center (now known as the Armstrong Flight Research Center) in California in 1975. Scott left NASA in 1977, but maintained his ties to the space program, working in the commercial space sector and serving as a technical advisor for space-related media such as Ron Howard’s 1997 film, Apollo 13, and HBO’s Emmy-winning television series From the Earth to the Moon.
As the scope of the American space program grew, NASA’s Space Task Group realized it would need to expand into its own facility if it were to successfully land a man on the Moon. In 1961, the agency’s selection team chose a 1,000-acre cow pasture in Houston, Texas, as the proposed center’s location site, owing to its access to water transport and commercial jet service, moderate climate, and proximity to Rice University. In September 1963, the facility opened as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). 
The Center became the focal point of NASA’s manned spaceflight program, developing spacecraft for Projects Gemini and Apollo, selecting and training astronauts, and operating the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Beginning with Gemini 4 in June 1965, MSC’s Mission Control Center also took over flight control duties from the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As a result, the facility managed all subsequent manned space missions, including those related to Projects Gemini and Apollo, the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle Orbiters, and the International Space Station.
In 1973, the MSC was renamed in honor of the late President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson. (As Senate Majority Leader, Johnson sponsored the 1958 legislation that established NASA.) The Center continues to lead NASA’s efforts in space exploration, training both American and international astronauts, managing missions to and from the International Space Station, and operating scientific and medical research programs.