Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 30

Apollo 10


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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  18.05.1969
Launch time:  16:49 UTC
Launch site:  Cape Canaveral (KSC)
Launch pad:  39-B
Altitude Earth:  185 - 186 km
Altitude Moon:  111 - 315 km
Inclination Earth:  32.55°
Inclination Moon:  174.4°
Undocking CSM-LM:  22.05.1969, 19:00:57 UTC
Docking CSM-LM:  23.05.1969, 03:11:02 UTC
Landing date:  26.05.1969
Landing time:  16:52 UTC
Landing site:  15° 2' S, 164° 39' W

walkout photo

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alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo


No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Stafford  Thomas Patten "Tom"  CDR 3 8d 00h 03m  1,5 
2  Young  John Watts  CMP 3 8d 00h 03m  1,5 
3  Cernan  Eugene Andrew "Gene"  LMP 2 8d 00h 03m  1,5 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Stafford
2  Young
3  Cernan

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Cooper  Leroy Gordon, Jr. "Gordo"  CDR
2  Eisele  Donn Fulton  CMP
3  Mitchell  Edgar Dean "Ed"  LMP

Support Crew

  Surname Given names
 Irwin  James Benson "Jim"
 Duke  Charles Moss, Jr. "Chuck"
 Engle  Joe Henry
 Lousma  Jack Robert


Launch from Cape Canaveral (KSC); landing east of Samoa Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Apollo 10 was the final dress rehearsal for the moon landing and the second manned lunar orbital mission, but first lunar orbital mission with the complete spacecraft (including the lunar module).

Apollo 10 launched from Cape Kennedy on May 18, 1969, into a nominal 115-mile (185 kilometers) circular Earth-parking orbit at an inclination of 32.5 degrees. One-and-a-half orbits later, translunar injection occurred. The S-IVB fired to increase velocity from 25,593 to 36,651 feet (7,800 to 11,171 meters) per second on a free-return trajectory. Twenty-five minutes later, the CSM separated for transposition and docking with the LM, similar to the maneuver performed on Apollo 9. The orbital vehicle was comprised of the S-IVB stage, and its payload of the CSM, the LM and spacecraft-lunar module adapter

The launch trajectory had been so satisfactory that only one of four midcourse corrections was needed. This was accomplished 26.5 hours into the flight. About 76 hours into the mission, lunar-orbit insertion occurred with the firing of the service propulsion system, or SPS. A second firing of the engine 4.5 hours later circularized the lunar orbit of Apollo 10 at approximately 69 miles (111 kilometers), which was followed by the first color TV pictures to Earth of the moon's surface.

On May 22, 1969 the spacecraft were separated. Spacecraft and the LM, named Snoopy, with Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan onboard was inserted into a descent orbit, John Young remained alone in his command module "Charlie Brown". The LM was taken within 15.243 km of the lunar surface, checking out the LMs radar and ascent engine and several more. The LM flew over Landing Site 2 in the Sea of Tranquility. During this run, the LM landing radar was tested for altitude functioning, providing both "high gate" and "low gate" data. Following a 7.5-second firing of the LM reaction control system, or RCS, thrusters, the descent engine fired in two bursts for 40.1 seconds - at 10 percent and at full throttle - placing the LM into an orbit of 13.7 by 219 miles (22.05 by 352.45 kilometers). On the 14th revolution, it reached a pericynthion of 12.7 miles (20.4 kilometers) and was "staged".
Upon separation of the descent stage and ascent engine ignition, the Lunar Module began to roll violently due to the crew accidentally duplicating commands into the flight computer which took the LM out of abort mode, the correct configuration for this maneuver. The live network broadcasts caught Eugene Cernan and Thomas Stafford uttering several expletives before regaining control of the LM. Eugene Cernan has said he observed the horizon spinning eight times over, indicating eight rolls of the spacecraft under ascent engine power. While the incident was downplayed by NASA, the roll was just several revolutions from being unrecoverable, which would have resulted in the LM crashing into the lunar surface. An incorrect switch setting was the reason for the unexpected LM motion.

Finally the lunar module returned to dock successfully with the CSM following the eight hour separation, and the LM crew returned to the CSM. The LM ascent stage was jettisoned.
The rest of the time in lunar orbit was spent on landmark tracking and photography. On the 31st orbit, the SPS restarted. Apollo 10 was on the back side of the moon when it was injected into a trans-Earth trajectory.
Apollo 10 also added another first - broadcasting live color TV from space (19 different broadcasts were performed).

The splashdown was 5.4 kilometers from the recovery ship USS Princeton.

Photos / Drawings



more Moon observation photos


Last update on November 25, 2014.