Then & now: Apollo 9 and command module Gumdrop (1969)

Astronauts of Apollo 9

Astronauts of the Apollo 9 Earth-orbital space mission, left to right: Russell L Schweickart, lunar module pilot; David R Scott, command module pilot; and James A McDivitt, commander. On February 23, 1969, they paused “momentarily” during training for their scheduled 10-day mission. (In the right background is the Apollo 9 space vehicle on Pad A, Launch Complex 39 of Kennedy Space Center.)

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3… 2… 1…

The Apollo 9 (Spacecraft 104/Lunar Module 3/Saturn 504) space vehicle launched from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at 11 am EST on March 3, 1969. Apollo 9 was the second manned Saturn V mission.

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Checking in from space

Here’a a photo from a live television transmission from Apollo 9 while the craft was orbiting Earth with the Command Module docked nose-to-nose with the Lunar Module. This view shows the interior of the Lunar Module “Spider.” McDivitt is in right foreground, while in the left background is Schweickart.

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Splashdown!

The Apollo 9 spacecraft is seen approaching touchdown in the Atlantic recovery area to conclude a successful 10-day Earth-orbital space mission. Splashdown occurred at 12:00:53 pm EST on March 13, 1969, just 4.5 nautical miles from the prime recovery ship, USS Guadalcanal.

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Recovery after touchdown

Navy underwater demolition team swimmers assist the Apollo 9 crew during recovery operations just after splashdown. They have already attached a flotation collar to the Command Module (CM). Astronaut Russell L Schweickart, lunar module pilot, is about to climb into raft.

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Heroes welcomed

Apollo 9 crew men walk on a red carpet after arriving aboard the prime recovery ship, USS Guadalcanal. Left to right, are astronauts Russell L Schweickart, David R Scott, and James A McDivitt.

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Now: Apollo 9 command module Gumdrop

Currently located in the San Diego Air & Space Museum at Balboa Park, San Diego

Apollo 9 Command Module Gumdrop (1)

Apollo 9 Command Module Gumdrop

Apollo 9 Command Module Gumdrop (2)

Apollo 9 Command Module Gumdrop (3)

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The Apollo 9 prime crew inside

Inside the Apollo 9 spacecraft in the Kennedy Space Center’s Manned Spacecraft Operations Building during manned altitude chamber test activity on November 15, 1968. Left to right are Commander James A McDivitt and command module pilot David R Scott.

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Vintage photos by NASA, San Diego museum photos by Nancy J Price

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