Lunar and Planetary Institute

Apollo 9 Mission

Overview | Activities | Photography

Mission Activities

Mission activitiesThe primary mission objectives of Apollo 9 were to evaluate crew operations of the lunar module and to demonstrate docked vehicle functions in an earth-orbit mission, verifying that the combined spacecraft was ready for lunar flight.  Spacecraft functions that were demonstrated included command module docking with the lunar module, spacecraft ejection from the launch vehicle, service propulsion systems burns, and extravehicular crew operations from both the lunar and command modules.  All primary objectives were met. 

This mission featured a number of firsts in spaceflight:  the first manned Apollo docking, the first docked service propulsion systems burn, the first manned Apollo undocking, and the first manned lunar module to command service module docking.  Another important highlight of this mission was the extravehicular activity (EVA) or spacewalks performed by Schweickart and Scott.  Schweickart wore a new Apollo spacesuit outfitted with an extravehicular mobility unit backpack.  This unit provided communications and oxygen and circulated water through the suit to keep the astronaut cool, eliminating the need for an umbilical connection to the spacecraft.  He was connected to the lunar module by only a 25-foot nylon rope to keep him from drifting into space.  Unfortunately, space sickness cut the EVA short and additional spacesuit tests were cancelled.